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Posts tagged “Pestalozzianlage

Dance With the Devil

Dance With the Devil
 
During a rally of high schoolers, students and young citizens on a Saturday afternoon in the year 1991 (or 1992) at Pestalozzi park near Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich there was an operation of the city police to break up the rally. Police used tear gas grenades to clear the park and surrounding area and then occupied it. Hereafter there were some acts of vandalism in the surrounding area.
 
The picture shows a police officer trying to arrest a woman who stood together with a man (to the right in the picture) at the corner Lintheschergasse and Heinrichstrasse (in front of McDonald’s), watching the event.
The Pestalozzi park had been cleared successfully by police, the protesters had moved on to Schweizergasse and Löwenstrasse. The woman and the man weren’t standing far to the right of me (I was standing pretty in the middle of the crossing Lintheschergasse and Heinrichstrasse, observing the event with my camera). Suddenly, two police officers wearing riot-control gear wormed through the hedge that delimits Heinrichstrasse from Pestalozzi park. They were coming for the woman. The second officer kept in the background, while the first one engaged in a sort of dance with her. In addition, two plain clothes officers moved up. They didn’t care about the man. But, as the picture shows, he didn’t let go of the woman.
 
I didn’t understand (and still don’t understand) why the officer wanted to arrest the woman. She and the man were standing passively in front of McDonald’s, watching. There was nothing suspicious about them. That is, I didn’t and still don’t understand why police assaulted her. It seemed that the mere sight of her brought the officers to the scene, reflexively.
 
I managed to take four pictures of the scene (Minolta X-700 & motor drive MD-1, manual focus, 3.5 frames per sec, Ilford XP2 SUPER ISO 400 35mm film). Since the situation occurred suddenly and unexpectedly, I had to react very quickly.
Because of the tumult I moved away after taking these pictures, towards Schweizergasse. I didn’t observe whether the woman got away. At the corner Lintheschergasse and Schweizergasse, in front of the „Globus“ store, an elderly man wearing a raincoat (probably a plain clothes officer) asked me, for whom I was photographing. The answer was, „from the association of Swiss youth press, do you want to see the card?“ (I’ll never forget the situation). Undisturbed I continued my business. I was actually photographing for the school magazine of my school, and I was a member of the aforementioned association. We had planned to have our eye on the periodic demonstrations in connection with the Wolgroth squatting, the occupation of an abandoned factory complex in the heart of Zurich from 1991 to 1993. A reportage was to be published. As conscientious young journalists we asked ourselves, why „city walks“ and „open-air discos“, organised regularly by youths from Zurich, often led to clashes between participants and police. We asked ourselves, if and why youth riots could be on the agenda. Finally, it is another story why the coverage never got published.
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