peaceful anti-wef protests in bern 22.1.2005

after writing down my 1. impressions earlier i took another spin downtown, but meanwhile the protests had died down. ghosttown. just some grumbling cops picking up the pieces. with sulkily pressed underlips. i decided to swing by the other davos, a podium discussion organsied by attac. but this looked too heady for me tonite and eventhough i saw the nice journalists from free speech news radio i had met earlier, i tried to sneak out. that’s when i bumped into my sisters partner, a journalist for a political weekly newspaper here in switzerland. i told him i was leaving, and for some reason this sounded almost like an apology. he said, “you are right to do so… i HAVE to go. this is like church”. pheew.
more relaxed after hearing him say this i gladly skipped the church of PC and went to look for some people i’d know. i went to reitschule, where some of the more radical activists were having an after-demo beer or two. everybody i spoke to was totally exited about this decentralised form of demonstrating. we all agreed, that this was a tactic that we had to utilise more often.
no big riots to report, no spectacular numbers, no pricetag of destruction.
but all smiles and good vibes. a much more constructive way of protesting.
i truely believe many shoppers and passers-by got the message much better this way.
just the cops messed up the harmony some with their pointless person searches, id checks and silly roadblocks. but even they seemed relaxed. confused, but somehow oddly relaxed.
when i headed home it did not look like there were gonna be riots tonite. already the cops from other cities started to head home in their tanks with their unused guns. some balloons were blowing through town. the boarded up storefronts seemed silly now.

and me? i needed a steaming hot herbal tea. and then early bed. peace out.

edit: in the evening tv news and the next days newspapers the downside of this way of protesting became apparent when the media started talking about only several hundreds of protesters, in that way clearly cheating us in numbers.
its a real problem though, how are you gonna count small groups protesting all around town?
i would still say several thousand would be a more acurate guess.
and even more predictably the police now claimed that the reason the protests went peacefully was due to their preventive arrests of some 70 activists, who, they claim, carried materials geared towards destructive acts. one journalist for local radio rabe was arrested for carrying a magic marker, so uhm…
another surprising news item is that the speaker of police refused to reveal the exact number of police force present in bern. the numbers i heard ranged from 500 to 1500 with the truth prolly laying right around the middle somewhere.

photos on indymedia 1 2 3
some of my photos: moblog

About Jan Zuppinger

Jan Zuppinger has been writing this blog since 2002. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to eat them too. He has opinions on everything, but sadly no one cares. Jan Zuppinger is not joking, just joking, he is joking, just joking, he's not joking. *click.