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panhandlers and psychopaths

In the Warmoestraat/Oudezijds Voorburgwal area, it's impossible
to walk a minute without men coming over to beg money. In fact,
one guy refused to be ignored and grabbed hold of me for dear
life (but released me before I was forced to what, punch him?
scream for the police?). After this, I viewed the panhandlers
as kind of a "toll-booth" and gave 1/2 Euro to those
who asked.
Then on Zeedijk, a friend and I were just browsing out the
restaurants when a crazy man approached my friend and began screaming
in French or something, then meandered away. The guy was really
angry and I feared he might strike my friend.
I'm a novice at this. What am I, a tourist, expected to
do in these situations?

I had a skinny junkie try to boost me for some money in FEBO's one night. I didn't want to pop him in the face because he probably had AIDS and could have infected me via my bloody knuckles so I just walked away without giving him anything.
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