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Salamanders

September 7, 2012

We were sitting on the steps of the bank, not even chanting, “We are The 99%.” Just sitting. Waiting. Talking quietly among ourselves. The march wasn’t supposed to start for another half hour, but we’d decided to show up early. So had they.

It was an unmarked white van. It pulled into the curb on the other side of the street and the doors opened to release a stream of black coated thugs, fully equipped with body armor, tear gas, and their little tacti-cool rubber bullet guns. The four of us looked at each other, then at the army of them. The van couldn’t have fit more than fifteen people, but at least to me it looked like about twice that number were heading for us.

We weren’t going to run. That had been decided beforehand in case of such an occurrence. But I thought about it for about a half second before I got knocked down and handcuffed.

They were swearing at us. Over to my left Mike was wriggling. Maybe they kicked him; I’m not sure. It it’s hard to think coherently with your face against the asphalt.

Someone with a bullhorn was chanting. “Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame.” I twisted around and looked up the street. About a dozen protesters were headed resolutely toward us. They scattered, though, as a tear gas canister landed directly in front of them. But the chants of shame were growing louder. People had begun to filter into the area from everywhere, not just more protesters, but civilians too. All around us the cry filled the street as we were dragged to the van, our captors silenced by the crowd of bystanders. We rolled off.

We spent the night on cement, but were released early the next morning. I’ll never forget what it was like to see so many people responding to the violence against us by speaking up against the violence. We are awakening. Maybe we’ve got a shot.

–Amy Farmer

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From → Fiction

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