The taxi took us up to the university district where there were a ton of people out, considering it was after 10 pm, late by local standards. Ambulance lights lit up the street where a car had been demolished by angry students. I found out later that someone that did not sympathize with the students had stolen the car and run over a group of 15 demonstrators. This in turn had led to the driver, and the car, being turned into pulp. 16 people to the hospital. Signs of a disturbance was the wet, black, oily paint spread on the sides of buildings and sidewalks. We hopped back in the taxi looking for the protesting students. Travelling by taxi in situations like this is the preferred mode of transport in cases such as this I was told by Joe - it keeps you moving fast and also anonymous, easy to make a getaway if things get ugly.

About a mile away we found them, about 400 guys dressed in black hoods ala the KKK with revolutionary slogans on their t-shirts or images of Che Guevara, or simply black plastic garbage bags keeping the paint from soiling their clothes. They were accompanied by 3 or 4 cargo trucks which carried the oildrums full of "paint", plus a beat-up Japanese stationwagon with a big loudspeaker on the top, blasting away slogans and instructions to the mob. We witnessed the defacing of a storefront, rags and brooms being used as brushes, and spray cans being used for the graffiti details. (Unfortunately, Joe had a bit of dyslexia operating the video camera, and I have at least two or three shots of the lens cap being put on and only audio being recorded. But he did get some good footage, just not all that was available that night.)

The mob then moved up to a block on a street that had gas stations on each end, and a car dealership, a bank and an electronic equipment business along it. One of the glossier buildings in Xela. When the students started the graffiti on the dealership a big, fat older guy (probably the owner) came out and tried asking them to stop. The students continued defacing the front of the building and the guy went back inside. That's when the stones and molotov cocktails started being flung into the street from within the compound.

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