Articles

Chasing Barack Obama in Prague

In Politics, Prague, World on April 8, 2010 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , , , , ,

Presidents Barack Obama and Dimitry Medvedev signed a new nuclear treaty in Prague today (Thursday). I knew that a large part of the Hradcany borough around the Prague Castle will become almost a ghost town… Well, the restrictions were not as tough as I thought they would be…

12:00 noon

(c) Petr Bokuvka

Large sections of the Hradcany neighborhood around the Prague Castle are still closed. Both presidents and all distinguished guests are now in the castle and the treaty signing ceremony should start any minute. This square is almost empty, save for a couple of tourists. This is the roadblock/checkpoint of the second perimeter and cops stopped the huge crowds of tourists at the third (outermost) level…

12:30 p.m.

(c) Petr Bokuvka

Just across the street from the roadblock the Prague Castle Guards have their headquarters. They practiced they routine several times, leading a couple of journalists to believe that Obama’s motorcade will leave the castle on the way to the hotel … and pass through this checkpoint. After all, this is the way the motorcade arrived in the morning.. There were about 20 American tourists (not one single group, usually couples or groups of three) who waited patiently to see their president…

1:05 p.m.

(c) Petr Bokuvka

It should be any minute now, we were told…But later it was revealed that the Castle Guard motorbike entourage means nothing… In the meantime, the number of tourists on this square increased, as did the number of street cops who told the tourists to be ready to get out of the road…

2:13 p.m.

(c) Petr Bokuvka

Incident! Some odd guy on a mountain bike passed though the roadblock, totally ignoring four cops who were standing there. They started yelling at him and there were another three further down the street, ready to catch him. He stopped and argued for a while… He was very lucky because the cops said they were getting ready for some “protesters”… he sure looked like one…

2:20 p.m.

(c) Petr Bokuvka

Right behind me is the third-level (outermost) roadblock/checkpoint… This is where the large crowds of tourists and other people were stopped… Also, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is behind me…

3:55 p.m.

(c) Petr Bokuvka

We realised that Obama’s motorcade was going to leave the Prague Castle via its northern gate!! That required a six-minute walk and… we almost missed it… The two gentlemen in yellow vests with numbers are from the so-called “anti-conflict” team. Their job is to deal with troublemakers… usually young people who protest against globalisation and other issues by throwing things, or throwing themselves in front of cars etc… From what we saw they had almost nothing to do here…

4:00 p.m.

(c) Petr Bokuvka

The motorcade is here…led by two police motorbikes…

4:01 p.m.

(c) Petr Bokuvka

Cadillac One… I only heard clapping from the crowd… No booing, no yelling, no whistling…

4:01 p.m.

(c) Petr Bokuvka

Barack Obama on the way to his hotel… That was close…

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One Response to “Chasing Barack Obama in Prague”

  1. Good job you weren’t standing on a ‘grassy knoll’ to get those shots, Petr. Might have caused a few problems!

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