Thursday, December 13, 2012

So I Went To A Protest

On Tuesday, December 11th, I went to Lansing with my union local for the Right To Work protest. Here's a tip for anyone that has an anxiety disorder like myself, I don't recommend it without proper medication. 

When I first got to the fringe part of the protest, there were some talkers. Upset, loud, but the crowd was somewhat calm. The angriest group outside were on the capital steps. If you ignored the talkers & the signs, it looked like a street fair. 

After taking some video of the talkers, I went for a little walk. I was trying to find the AFP tent that a friend was in. I found it. Wasn't hard. When I got there, there was a heated discussion between some union guys & this nicely dressed gentleman. So I got out my video camera. Taped that discussion when another one started behind me. I heard (& hopefully captured) a white union guy ask a well dressed black man 'how does it feel to be bought?'

After that talk calmed down, I found I was near the door to tent. So I sneaked in. Where I was greeted my 2 lovely women offering me coffee. I turned it down & went searching for my friend. Found him. We talked a bit. He knew I couldn't stay long. While I talked to him, I noticed a lot of union people looking in the tent. It made me queasy because I to go back out. I got back out with no problem.

I want to say, about 10:15ish, we marched around the capital building. I don't know why. One guy had a megaphone who lead the chants. The people I met while walking. I met a teacher who was texting while marching. Met the guy that stuck out the most to me at the beginning of the march. He was in his young 20's (if he was even 20). Nice guy. Very gay. Which automatically made me love him. (I have a thing for gay guys) But he told me that one the other union guys took a swing at him. Now I should mention, my friend was dressed with union logos at the time. I asked him what happened. He said this guy came up to him, called him a tea-bagger & told to get the f*ck out of there! Then swung. I couldn't believe it. When I told one of my coworkers about it, she was fine with it, blaming the younger one.

After the march, I went back to the tent. Got good video the first time, thought I try it again. When I got there, I noticed one guy trying to take down the tent. He was stopped by security. When I got up to the front, I got out my camera again. This time I taped a teacher 'teaching' one of the AFP guys about the Gadsden flag & how it came to be. (You'll have to watch the video, she was funny)

Shortly after I shot that video, I got my camera out again to tape what the firefighter was saying. I swear about 20-30 seconds later, I'm getting shoved from behind by the guys from AFP so they could save the tent. (They apologized while they shoved me) Then I saw people charged the tent. The next 5 seconds I'm not sure how I got out. Hear what I saw after that, people trying get the dog to chew up one of the banners from the tent, the pamphlets from the tent being tossed in the air, & police horses. I was a bit scared. I knew people in there.

When the police horses showed up, I left. I decided I needed a walk & a drink. If you all must know, I had a Jack & coke. If you ever meet me, buy me one. I'd appreciate it. After I left the bar, I crossed paths with the teacher & her union guy. They gave me the evil eye. Apparently they thought I was with the AFP. 

By the time I got back to the protest site, they had stormed the Romney building. I watched one guy with an escort of about 14 or 16 cops getting taken away. He got pepper sprayed. The rant I heard from the building was 'No one in! No one out!' 

To tell you the truth, it all became a blur after awhile. I know I did one on-camera interview.  Like I said, I have an anxiety disorder. I was more amazed that I didn't completely shut down. I remember seeing riot police, anger, billy clubs, litter, & children.

So I went. If I go again, I want to be on the other side. If I remember more, I write another piece.

1 comment:

  1. It takes great courage to go to a Riley like that. Knowing that there could be trouble at the drop of a hat. Next time carry a can of mace.