I was out photographing the several 1st of May rallies here in Sweden yesterday, looking for interesting shots. I photographed the Leftist party's, the Green party, etc etc. Then I went to the Syndicalist's rally (they're superleft or something). There were tons of police everywhere. Dogs and police vans and everything everywhere. Not all that many people at the rally, but I suppose those people are known for violence. So I take a few shots from my bicycle, cycle another 20 meters in front of the rally, take a few shots, etc. At one point this guy came up to me. He had a shaved head, a beret, tight jeans and an English-inspired jacket on. He asked me what/who I was photographing for. I told him I was photographing for the sake of photographing, an answer he wasn't satisfied with. So he continued hassling me while I continued trying to take pictures. "You know, some people maybe don't want to be photographed", he told me. My reply was to ask him what I was supposed to do about that. He left me alone after that. So I continued cycling/photographing. The shots weren't that great, but I kept hoping something interesting would pop up. So near an intersection I'm standing there with my bike when these three guys (all bigger than me, of course). They tell me that they don't like me photographing and that I should leave. They asked me if my camera was insured and that it looks nice. After seeing that I didn't respond to their threats they one upped themselves: they told me to get lost, cycle as fast as I can and that they had "given me a warning". I told them I wasn't going anywhere. There were police everywhere (although I wasn't clearly visible in the street, sadly enough, being behind a bus stop) so I wasn't too worried that they'd get violent even though I was sure these were the kind of people that liked to beat up neo-nazis and then boast about it on websites. "You're not allowed to photograph us", they told me. I told them that if I'm on public property I can photograph anything I want (except protected military buildings). When I asked then whether they would like to ask a policeman which of us was right, they hushed up. They told me that I had been photographed by them and that if my pictures were to appear, they would use the one of me. I don't what exactly what good that would be, but I can imagine (these people like to put the photos and addresses of neonazis up on websites...). I told them I was fine with that and that they had the right to photograph me. This seemed to surprize them. It's as if they regard photographing people as some sort of privelige that only the higher echelons of their communist society are allowed... Or something. I then backed up and continued cycling, with them following me. I then stopped at an intersection the police has cordoned off (for the sake of the passing rally), and the three guys came up to me and stood in front of me. They then repeated their threats on both my life and the destruction of my camera. I decided I didn't want any more part in this so I let the bike fall to the ground, backed up a few steps, lifted my 1D2 and photographed them all at 8fps. They backed up quickly, and it was then I saw that the one guy had take off the shade off my 16-35 (he had had his hand on the glass earlier, but I didn't think anything of it, stupid me. ). I saw the shade in his hand and told him to give it back. He continued running into the crowd, where he disappeared. I found the nearest police officer and told him of the theft, but he said he didn't have time. I couldn't find the thief anywhere, so I continued following the rally, hoping I would see him. One of the three guys observed me constantly from a distance. So anyway, they reach their destination, and the observer tries to block my view which results in him getting sent to the sidewalk (off the street) by several police officers. Not being able to find anyone, I go to the police station where I make a report of the theft, give them the pictures of all three threateners/thieves and then go home. Those idiots cost me 50$ (hood from the 24/1.4 instead of the 16-35s normal hood), excluding freight. Now the thing is this: 1. These people probably weren't with the syndicalists (and the syndicalist party will probably deny that they know who these criminals are), so they probably won't be found. 2. The crime was committed under the noses of several police officers but they couldn't do anything. 3. I feel so extremely terrible that those criminals STOLE a part of MY camera (one could even say that it was because I was careless and let them come too close) that... *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#*. I feel terrible. Haven't eaten anything for 24 hours and barely drunk anything. I've had the/a camera within 50feet of me since 22 feb 2002, so the camera is my life. Kinda like my best friend. Someone taking something from the best friend, and me LETTING them take it, makes be feel not at all good. Since yesterday I've been replaying the scenario in my head again and again and again. Going over what I did, what they said, what I should have done, if I should have shouted to the police, etc. I'd love to hear someone say that I did the best I could, and that those criminals and their intimidation tactics don't work on normal people. Last night I twisted and turned in bed for several hours before sleep finally overcame me. There were several other photographers there. Even people with video cameras, why did they have to attack me? What did I do?