Minutes before Kate McCann arrived at the Policia Judiciara, the TV and press
queues blocking the road began a huge shouting match.
It was intimidating, it was aggressive and it was necessary ... everybody
wanted the best pictures.
The yelling that greeted Mrs McCann - reporters and photographers shouting at
rivals to "get out of the way" - was less of a media circus and more
like one of those punch-ups familiar to foreign parliaments.
One television report described it as "a colossal media scrum".
Yet even though the slim Mrs McCann was being rushed at by burly men shoving
heavy, intrusive cameras into her face, she carried on.
A "nervous smile" is how Sky News Crime corespondent Martin Brunt
described her expression.
Others watching the spectacle disagreed.
"She didn't show any emotion - nothing at all," said one onlooker.
Tourists Gordon Ross and David Allan, from Aberdeenshire, were impressed. They
thought the couple looked composed.
"But it must be terrifying for them," David said, "seeing all
those cameras pointing at them. Their situation is bad enough as it is."
But the scrum was justified, according to George Maughan, who is here on his
holiday from Dublin.
Holding up his palm-sized digital camera, he admitted that he feels fine about
taking his own pictures, which will take pride of place among his other holiday
"Everyone is so interested," he said.
But George nevertheless has a lot of sympathy for the McCanns. His grandson,
Bertie, is the same age as Madeleine.
"It's so sad," his wife Mary said. "And the worst bit is all the
conclusions people jump to, just because they've been called in to give a
statement at a police station."
Earlier in the day, there were just two satellite trucks at the car park
opposite the PJ.
In the hour before the McCanns' arrival, dozens pulled up.
It is easy to see why reporters get labelled 'vultures'.
Everywhere you look there are cameras, cables, tripods, notepads, pens,
microphones and mobile phones.
But it is with good reason - how else would the world know the news?