The eighties and nineties were dangerous on the streets of the city where I live and where I worked as a journalist. Terrorists committed bomb attacks or shootings, killing and wounding dozens. While on the streets, groups of young people supported them with demonstrations that always ended in violent confrontations with the police.
The protesters used to gather in my neighbourhood, the old city. One day, they discovered two plainclothes police officers; they surrounded them and attacked them. One of the officers, to defend himself, fired his weapon, wounding one of them.
The following day, the supporters of the terrorists called a protest against police violence. I went to cover the information.
The police had orders not to engage with the protesters, because the tension was high.
I observed how the youths, led by about 10 or 12 men over 30 who were experts in street fighting, provoked the agents overturning cars, setting up barricades, even attacking buses full of passengers. I heard them say, nervous, “this is not right. If the police don’t charge, there is no fun”.
The protesters ended up attacking themselves the police forces who were waiting around the Civil Government building.
This story has nothing to do with Washington’s terrible events incited by president Trump. Still, it reminded me the strategy: an organised group that knew very well what it was doing, taking advantage of a chaotic, out of control mass.