Monday, June 22, 2015

Citydownhill in Bratislava turned into a riot

Long story short: Neo-nazis started a riot and destroyed the downhill track. Here are a few photos before and after the incident.


 The downhill track started from the castle of Bratislava

 Redbull brought a movable boombox

 The track starts with a nice drop.

 The next jump was at the gate of the castle

 The jump seen from the other side

 A small jump leads to the wall of the castle

 Followed by a big drop from the wall

 This was a pretty crazy jump

 The jump seen from the other side... it's about 13-15 meter gap and you don't want to make it short...

 A competitor testing his luck

 These little bumps looked like a bad joke after the previous jump.

Of course there were some stairs to ride as well

 A worried looking competitor checking out the next drop

 If you go too fast, it's almost impossible to make the turn left to the wallride.

 Only one way to find out....

 Slope style jump at the finish area

 After free practice, there was some slope style action

 Then it was time for some beer

 Leffe vs Saris

 We missed the qualifications, but were just in time for the finals

It started to rain, and soon the staff added some mat to the landing. I think the jump was scary enough even without the wet and slippery landing. Also, most of the bikers made the jump just barely over the gap, as you can see from the rubber on the banner.

The first finalist is making the jump. He did it, but just. The next two competitors didn't even try to jump.

 Bernardo Cruz was riding fast and landed nicely

However, after he was gone, there was a longer pause. The next competitor never came, and soon we heard police sirens. For a second we thought the biker had crashed, but then we heard a sound of an explosion.

And then this happened:

We heard more explosions and saw a few paramedics running the downhill track up as well. At first they were shouting something in Slovak, but then in English..."Run, please run!"

We took our stuff and started to run. Everyone else was doing the same thing, so we couldn't move too fast. The only way out, apart from the downhill track, was to climb up the stairs and then follow the street next to the wall of the castle.

When we got a bit higher we saw why people were running. The downhill track was now filled up with rioters. They all were wearing black and their faces were covered with a scarf.

This is what had happened on the lower part of the track:

Neo-nazis came to the track

 Bernardo Cruz's headcam

 The incident seen from the live Broadcast

More high IQ activity (link to the video)

We tried to get out, but the road was blocked by rioters. I was tempted to take more photos, but these guys didn't look like they would like to be photographed. We hid our cameras and waited to see what would happen.

The group of neo-nazis came right next to us, but they didn't do anything. They started to talk with the other rioters which were on the downhill track and even though I didn't understand anything, it sounded like they were a bit lost as well.

Now the road was free so we decided to walk away. That felt like a good move, but suddenly we realized we were walking in the middle of group of rioters.

The forest right next to us was covered by policemen. I was pretty happy I didn't wear black that day. Still, it didn't feel like the best idea to walk along with rioters so we slowed down a bit and let them walk ahead of us. They saw polices as well, and soon they took off their scarfs.

Not saying this guy had anything to do with the riot, but quite a few also took off their black sweaters. I guess their plan was to blend in with the viewers of the downhill event.

We went inside of the castle walls, and from there it was relatively safe to watch what was happening.

"Thanks for ruining the show"

The police was clearing the area

The finish area seen from the castle, quite many civilian police cars

The police arrested around 140 rioters altogether.

The crowd was cheering when they took out this guy.

Policemen clearing the downhill track

It looks like army police was also helping

The police also closed some of the main roads

It was quiet at the beer tent

The bar in the middle of the track was also closed

If you want to destroy things, wooden chairs are probably the easiest way to go.

The first sign of peace, "window-bar" started to sell beer again.

A competitor is pushing his bike up the track. For a while they tried to start the competition again, but they couldn't. Gear for timing was destroyed and a big part of the staff had run away.

"They should have forced the rioters to ride the downhill track, that would have been justice!"

A photo from the train while heading back to Austria

Later we found out that there had been a big demonstration of thousands of people (14 000 according to the organizers) in Bratislava against immigration, organized by the extreme right. Apparently some started to fight the police and for some reason decided to destroy the downhill track as well. They also attacked a cameraman and some staff of the event. Three policemen were wounded, but apparently no one was seriously injured.