But… why would it have been empty? It’s a public space. Even absent a protest, there should normally be activity in that space, people going to and fro, moving about, probably a few small vendors selling things like food and drink that can be bought and consumed on the go, etc etc.
If the space wasn’t in-use, it wouldn’t remain as it is. The State’s not nearly so inefficient as that. So it should have been in use for the normal daily traffic, and there should be security footage to show that.
There should also be a few hundred or more people who were there at the time who could say ‘no, this didn’t happen’. And LD’s likely able to track those people down.
Does that mean Lai Dai should release that footage, or produce those witnesses? That’s questionable. There are plenty of reasons LD wouldn’t want to put that out, assuming the released footage is false. Maybe what was going on there that day was somehow sensitive. Or the people who were there were folks they don’t necessarily want identified, either by interview or video extrapolation. Or they just don’t want to establish the precedent of treating the Guristas as a credible actor worthy of engagement.
In any case, LD’s probably already provided anything they can to the CEP and CBT as a measure to forestall any real credence being given to the pirates at the highest levels. As for the pirates themselves…
They’re pirates. They’re criminals. The vast majority of them are out there because the law where they were didn’t let them live the life they wanted. For about 99% of them, that life was ‘I want to take what I want even if someone else has it, and I may kill them to get it’.
And before you go getting all indignant about the people who engage in trade and commerce all over the region, @Avio_Yaken, thieves don’t steal everything. Murderers don’t kill everyone they meet. Most of the time, even criminals play by society’s rules. They just reserve the right not to, when the mood takes them and they think they can get away with it.
That holds true among pirates, too—they’ll buy and sell, until they think they can take without repercussion. Bankrupting your suppliers means nobody’s bringing supplies out to you, after all, and they’re not stupid. That doesn’t make them any less criminals who are, in fact, actively hunted for good reason. The Guristas are not a society of noble rebels, yearning to live free of the oppressive yoke of the Caldari State… unless you consider ‘don’t murder people to take their stuff’ to be oppressive.
And yes, obviously there are families out there. Military-age individuals, as @Saronu_Yassavi puts it, of both genders, serving on ships in close quarters will form social bonds. Social bonds lead to relationships. Relationships, over more than fifteen freakin’ years means yeah, there’s been a hell of a lot of fraternizing and screwing out there. And people get older. The things they’re after change. I’m sure a considerable number of them have settled down to raise families. That’s almost certainly where the personnel to man and maintain their network of stations comes from, and there’s probably plenty who’ve said ‘screw space, I want to breathe open air1’. So they’re breeding in stations, and they’re breeding on colonies.
And hell, they’d need to be. Think of how many Guristas ships explode every year. That manpower’s got to be replaced, and the empires aren’t going to put up for very long with an annual drain of that many able bodies to the various pirate bands of New Eden.
1. I have no idea why. Yes, yes, I get it, planets are normal for some people, and I’m really working on not being freaked out by the idea of not having a bulkhead to hold the air in, but honestly, people ‘I want to live on a naked rock with no shields’… that’s just crazy.