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Perfect culmination of this trip to Bissau: I almost got arrested

posted Feb 12, 2013, 1:35 PM by Andras Kalmar   [ updated Feb 17, 2013, 11:59 AM ]

The offense was trying to take photos of the carnival without being an official photographer.
Instead of telling me that photography was not permitted, or that I would have to obtain a permit, a guy of Guardia Nacional started yelling at me, grabbed my camera, and pushed me into the yard of a police station. All my questions  to understand what I did wrong remained unheard, the guy was just yelling at me in Portuguese. He got even more angry when he realized that in the meantime Craig and Milos had run away with Michal's camera.
After a few minutes of yelling and fighting over my camera a lady came around with a bag full of press passes. She wanted to have 35000CFA (more than 50EUR) which I quickly bargained to 10EUR.
As soon as I had my photographer pass the guy let go of me and never harassed me again.
I am still proudly wearing the badge stating that I am an official photographer of the Ministry of national education, youth and cultural affairs of the Republic of Guinea - Bissau.

Nevertheless it is a sad story. To even the smallest delict the police replies with pure violence. They were beating children and women with their batons and old car v-belts for standing too close to the street and similarly serious offenses.

The carnival was closed today by a beautiful costume parade. Here some impressions: