Vermont photographer Dylan Kelley was in the middle of the action Sunday when police dressed in riot gear fired pepper spray and "stingball pellets" into a crowd of protesters at the conference of New England governors and eastern Canadian premiers. His pictures are some of the most arresting images to emerge from a melee that veteran demonstrators say is unprecedented in Burlington history.
Kelley, a 25-year-old student at Burlington College, has been documenting the Occupy movement with his lens for months. He’s travelled all over the country photographing occupiers in New Hampshire, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Cleveland and Oakland.
“I’ve photographed all this stuff in various places where headlines are emerging,” says Kelley. “But to come back and be hanging out on College Street and see this go down, it feels like another thing entirely.”
More photos after the jump.
Kelley (pictured), who triple majors in photography, documentary studies and media activism, told Seven Days he took his camera to Sunday’s protest because he “had a feeling there was going to be something happening.” But he said he didn’t expect to end up in the middle of a riot. “It shocked me as much as everyone else,” he said.
“I’ve seen [police] beat the hell out of people before, but I’ve never actually seen them open fire,” adds Kelley, who said he was “jostled” but not hurt in the fracas.
Kelley’s takeaway from the incident: “As awesome as the Queen City is, we are not immune to these forces that are unfolding across the country.”
All photos by Dylan Kelley