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Amber Paulen

Rome, Shame on You!

Yesterday was like any other Sunday near the Colosseum. The tourists flocking to see the great arena, the Bangladeshi touts selling sun umbrellas and mini clear-plastic images of it and the Polizia Municipale e Protezione Civile (the cops dressed in white) trying to stop them. The vigili and the street sellers play a game of cat and mouse: when the cats are away the mice will play and when the cats are around the mice scurry through their feet. Yesterday was no different.

Except it was. One civil officer grabbed hold of a Bangladeshi selling sun umbrellas. (I’m not sure if they can do this? They are there to stop the street sellers by any way but physical means, probably.) A foreign photographer who passes through this way every day, reacted like a photographer and put his camera to his eye. He took the picture. The officer released the Bangladeshi and grabbed hold of the photographer and demanded his camera. (See the full story here.) Eventually he was arrested for wounding two police officers and resisting arrest—two things he did not do.

Two aggressions. Two injustices.

Rome, is this really how you feel about civilian rights? freedom of speech?


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