Yesterday was an interesting day, I was in a meeting in central Edinburgh with a TV on in the next room showing Sky News with occassional footage of the protesting in Edinburgh. There were so-called “anarchists” rioiting in Edinburgh apparently. I went into town later on to get some photos which I’ll post later, and was in the thick of it about 7pm.
To begin with, the crowd were throwing rocks at the police behind their riot shields. Big rocks, rocks the size of footballs, glass bottles, plastic bottles, pretty much anything that came to hand. The police would stand, let the rocks bounce of their riot sheilds, and then every so often charge forward a few feet. Then ensued a process of the crowd being chased around by the police and their riot shields for a few hours. All very strange.
What was even more strange though, was talking to people on both sides. I had a camera in my hand, so I wasn’t considered a direct threat, although that didn’t stop the police running full tilt at me with batons in hand because I happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time!
The so-called “anarchists” were a mixture of generally anti-establishment types, who have a general dislike to hatred of the police, to hard-core, full time protestors determined to attack at all costs. Even photographers I spoke to seemed anti-police. Was I really the only person who thinks they’re just guys doing a job?
I’d had enough of being chased by riot shields for one day, so I headed up to Bristo Square where there was supposed to be a chilled out party going on. Of course I had to walk miles round the various police blockades cutting the city in half to get there, but I did, and did find a good drumming session going on. Again, some photos, not sure if there were any great ones though.
Then a few hours later, I felt a hard impact on the back of my head. At first I thought I’d been hit by a bottle, but I couldn’t see anyone that looked like they’d thrown it. I was standing in a crowd, what was it, who had thrown it, was I bleeding, how bad was it? Then somebody told me, I had been attacked in a drive-by-egging! Some twat in a car had driven by and lobbed eggs at us standing on the pavement. Rioiting was obviously in the air!
All in all it was pretty quiet I think. There was no mass scale sacking of buildings, as various firms had feared, the crowd was pretty small by the time I got into town around 7, and there was little trouble later that night. Still, it did all seem very strange, and somewhat ironic. A protest against poverty, people carrying huge signs saying peace and love, and crowds throwing rocks at police. What times we live in…