I've gone back over the events at the Trade Center in my head a lot and rechecked my notes prior to this post. Before I said my piece I wanted to make sure I had my facts as clear as I could get them. This is what I saw:
I was inside the glass entryway to the consulate when the shoving ensued. Admittedly, I did NOT see the initial spark. But I (with other people) quickly moved between the angry youth and the AP photographer. The quarters were close, cramped and it was tense in there. Both sides were fronting. Yet is was clear that it was the photographer had more anger to vent at the time. He was more difficult to calm down. He was not a huge man, but certainly carried some heft and he was reluctant to be set at ease. The youth who was accused of hitting him did nothing more than stare the guy in the face. The photographer kept pushing back and at one point deliberately flashed his camera to spite the crowd. His anger blinded any reasoning capacities he could have mustered. At that time, he was the derisive force in the crowd, not any "black clad youth". As I said, I did not see the initial spark, but it was quite clear to me who was perpetuating the tension...and it was the man with the big camera. Afterwards, when the situation had resolved, he seemed more contrite and willing to listen to other sides. I am a veteran of many, many protests over the years...both large scale and small. One thing that is constant is large media. It offends me when media act as if their presence outweighs the imprtance of people who are there for JUSTICE AND PASSION. If you are there on assignment and not for your own convictions, you should always make way for people who really give a damn. Get a telephoto lens and back off. Interview from the perimeter. Better yet, do some background research and THEN come in with an informed persperctive. I do not advocate violence against people who come in with corporate cameras, but their constant deluge of incomplete misinformation is impossible to ignore. In this particular instance we had a photographer who was scared, angry and frankly, in the way. He should have backed out and calmed down sooner than he did.