Words from Baltimore.
Tonight, the city of Baltimore is alight, burning with anger and civil unrest. The justified protests have turned to unjustified violence and looting as the fringe take the lead, and take advantage of a city on the brink. Just read this in The Guardian by Paul Lewis, and thought I'd share it.
The thing TV pictures never tell you is how surreal riots are. I just arrived on Monroe St and North Avenue to find a sound system with large speakers on the corner, a man stood on a yellow truck dancing to Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean with a white glove on. There was a drunk man dancing the in he middle of the intersection pouring vodka in the street. The ground was scattered with debris and looted goods. Shortly after people sprinted past me - away from riot police - and the music changed to Aerosmith’s Come Together.
Further east - the intersection of North Mount St I think - a liquor store had been looted. Two men, one named James, told me how they had rescued the owners who were attacked by the looters. The two men told a disturbing story about how the owners had to be pulled out. Police arrived firing flash bangs, rubber bullets and bean bags. As we talked people walked casually past, still looting cases of beer.
I was filming the interview and someone came up to me advised me to leave, quickly. A woman in a scarf said I would be harmed unless I deleted the video from my phone. In the end she and a group of young guys let me go and all was fine. Needless to say Baltimore feels totally lawless right now. But also, frankly, dreamlike. I am in my parked car and I can still hear the sound system, four blocks away, belting out Jacko.