It's 3am. I've been watching live news coverage of the protests in Acheron for hours. The loop keeps repeating. I can't look away.
We've seen this all before, of course. Angry students. Clashes with Domestic Security. Protest turning violent. The images are horrifying, but not shocking. It's been eight years since the Resettlement Riots, but most of us who witnessed them first hand still have vivid memories of armed gangs patrolling the streets, snipers taking shots at immigrant families as they rushed home from church, unconscious and broken bodies left lying on the sidewalks as DSF sirens sent clashing groups scattering into the night, and hatred. So much hatred...
By comparison, the images coming out of Acheron seem almost tame. Hundreds of students being evacuated from school in single file lines, their hands stretched high over their heads to indicate they are not a threat? It must be a Tuesday.
As I watch, the smooth voice of a demographically neutral reporter relays the casualty list for what must be the twentieth time. Just four dead. The principal, two students and a DSF agent, all yet to be identified. That's not too bad. So why all the media attention?
Normally, this kind of footage would be followed by teary-eyed reunions between scared kids and grateful parents, all thanking God they got out alive - but that didn't happen this time. There haven't been ANY reunion videos. The kids were rounded up and loaded onto busses to be taken to a "safe location" like they always are, but that's the last anyone has seen of them. Instead of being released to their parents, they were taken into custody. And no one is saying exactly why.
It's not surprising that many parents have taken to the streets tonight. We haven't seen this time of mass detention within our own boarders for years, and we've never seen it with children...
[Image 1: Inside dorm room. Someone's feet are propped up on a trunk being used as a coffee table. The person is watching the news on tv. A female reporter talks over footage of students being detained following the North Acheron High School Riot.
"Student protests turned violent today, resulting in the deaths of two students, the school's principal and a Domestic Security agent."]
[Image 2: Close up on the tv shows protesters in Victoria Square, Acheron. Protesters hold signs reading "Our Kids Are Not Criminals" and "Let Them Go." People in the crowd are shouting "No Justice, No Peace," "ACAB" and "Set Them Free." City Hall and the Domestic Security Force Administration Building can be seen bordering the square.]
[Image 3: Close up on tv. Camera has returned to the broadcast studio. The Live Shot has gone black and reads "No Signal." The female anchor is seen touching her ear piece as she tries to contact reporters on the ground.
"Don? Are you still with us? Can you tell us what's happening?"]