Show Of Force

29 Aug 2007

We're already frazzled when we leave Kunta Hora. The Sedlec Ossuary - "bone church" - is deeply creepy. The silver mines tour was more pedestrian, although the large tour group added to the claustrophobia. I don't like crowds in tunnels. And it took an Act Of God in the form of a taxi appearing from nowhere to get us to the train station in time for the second-last train out of town.

As we roll into Prague, I glimpse the tail end of a line of helmeted figures standing on the platform. Lyn confirms my theory: riot police.

A lot of riot police.

They board the train as we leave, but there are more of them in the station, standing in immobile lines that are somehow more frightening than if they were actively looking for someone. The balaclavas work well to enhance the effect; they say "there will be no comebacks".

Fugitive on our train? Training exercise? Or just the Man flexing his muscles? No one seems to want to tell me.

While trying to find out, I learnt that English police can now fingerprint you, take DNA samples, and issue you an order to leave an area for 48 hours, purely because you look like you might be thinking about causing trouble. But it's an indication that this hasn't sunk in yet that when we see riot cops, we still walk towards them, not away.