Published May 03, 2010Internationally, May 1 is May Day, otherwise known as Labour Day or International Workers' Day, an annual event meant to celebrate the importance of labourers and their contributions to society. Of course, the day is frequently used as an opportunity to continue fighting for worker equality, and has thus been known to incite protests and, in extreme cases, riots.
This past Saturday (May 1) in Zurich, Switzerland, the latter occurred, and Vancouver, BC punks D.O.A. were on hand for what front-man Joe "Shithead" Keithley called "four times bigger than any riot" he'd ever been in, according to Blurt.
A "couple thousand" protesters had gathered in Zurich's Kanzleistrasse 56 (an outdoor public space with an area of three blocks squared) to protest excessive Swiss banking bonuses and the perceived over-importance of money in Switzerland when police showed up with water cannons to disperse the crowd.
"Towards the end of our set we saw the helicopters above us," Keithley explained. "Police moved in with water cannons mounted on large police trucks that were about half the size of the fire truck. They were armed with riot shields, batons, and guns that fired rubber bullets.
"When we finished playing, the police surrounded the crowd and wouldn't let anyone leave. Anyone that tried to get out were tackled and dragged off. If they resisted, the cops would surround them, so I assume a lot of force was used."
When the cops started marching towards the crowd, Keithly and co. reportedly ran into a nearby building that had doors equipped to withstand force, after which he claimed the police used tear gas.
"I have been in a lot of riots that back in the day in L.A., and that was really violent, but this was easily four times bigger than any riot than I even been in... And the police were way more organized," Keithley said.
The band, as far as we can tell, are fine, and will continue touring in support of their forthcoming LP, Talk - Action = 0, due June 8 via Sudden Death Records.