Monday, May 2, 2011

The Queen is Dead - the Osama riots

At around 11:30PM I was in the middle of doing my laundry and writing a post for this when I was distracted by news of a crowd gathering on the other side of campus. I grabbed my camera, grabbed some clothes (sans belt, sorry guys) and met Sam before heading to South-West. 

Obviously, today is a big day for America, and I'm glad I'm here to witness the response. My opinions on the happenings are completely irrelevant, though that's not why I'm happy to be here. Firstly, I'm Australian and though we have troops in Afghanistan, this has very little to do with me. Secondly, I'm studying to be a journalist, and there was something to report, not something to get involved in. I'm not saying journalists aren't allowed opinions - it's just that this is not my moment to partake in. Instead, I got a chance to observe, and so I did. Happily.

I imagine that some people this moment is like removing the cork from a giant champagne bottle, while for others their thoughts are taken back 10 years. Again, I'm not here to judge the reactions, everyone is entitled to do what they want. I did my best to keep my mouth shut, remark or celebrate on Facebook, or opine on twitter.

Groups gathered, lit fireworks, burnt pictures of Osama Bin Laden and challenged riot police. I did my best to remain close, but passive to the response. The crowd stampeded, a police officer who was previously relaxed about people taking photos with him changed his approach when he temporarily dispersed part of the crowd with a large noise - I'm inconclusive to what it was, but he did have a paintball/rubber bullet gun on him.

The riot police eventually came, and the crowd moved on in a disorderly fashion. Fired up, the crowd tore down a fence or two on the way to the other side of campus, while the rest of us just walked around. The celebration had turned to a riot.

So anyway, here's some footage from the night. Everyone has their own opinions and emotions about the event, but here's what I saw, in chronological order. It was certainly an interesting way to spend an evening, and I got home around 2AM.

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