After the G20 last week and a lively discussion on some sound boards about the ethics of recording such sounds, I thought I’d bring out one of my favorite protest sets. Living in San Francisco, I have no shortage of protests to pick from. Small, large, peaceful, angry, happy, parties, you name it--we got it. The police here are so used to working protests and marches that they have a very laid back attitude most of the time (and will pose for photographs if you ask nicely). (The marches here are also generally very peaceful affairs.) When the Olympic Torch came through the city in 2008 and throngs of genuinely angry people were lining up just a block outside my office, I had no choice but to grab the gear and head out for the day.

I found a very orderly affair along King Street, right in front of the Giant’s ballpark. The streets were blocked off with barriers and protesters of all kind lined the sidewalk. Looking like a member of the press always pays off and, using it to my advantage, I moved right past the barriers and into the street.
I walked along the barriers, stopping at each group and letting them lay their chants on me. I got everything from “Free Tibet” to something about healthy eating and veganism. *Shrug* After about 20 minutes a policeman nicely asked me to move along.

Around the corner on 2nd Street, however, was a much more violent affair. The crowd here was starting to undulate and a few individuals were getting into heated arguments. The vitriol was actually pretty amusing (I never have and don’t think I ever will understand how Communists are destroying the United States...but I digress) and I can only imagine nabbed straight from talk radio.
Once the torch was released, it disappeared. The city pulled an excellent switcheroo and no one knew what happened to the torch (it appeared well across the city a few hours later). This ended up being fantastic for me, as the news choppers vanished to search for the missing torch. I was left with a crowd that split up in a few directions but remained large and loud. Below are some of the more interesting sounds from the day.

OlympicTorchProtestSet by dsteinwedel

Recording geek notes: Neumann RSM 191->Sound Devices 744t.