Ferguson Protests Stay Peaceful in D.C., More Planned
Contrary to concerns about violence or vandalism, protesters held peaceful events in Washington Thursday night in response to events in Ferguson, Mo.
What had been billed as a “Day of Rage” in front of the White House drew about two dozen people, including D.C. and St. Louis natives, and a cadre of local press. A handful of protesters sported Guy Fawkes masks often associated with Anonymous, the activist network that called for the nationwide rallies.
Close to 50 people gathered at a plaza across the street from the Columbia Heights Metro station to protest police brutality and the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. A Metropolitan Police Department vehicle was parked nearby, watching the crowd chant, “No racist police!”
Though the crowd was smaller at the White House, the police presence was heavier. Three officers stood casually behind the protesters, as Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin led the group in song.
A spokesperson for MPD told CQ Roll Call Friday morning she was not aware of any arrests related to the Ferguson protests.
About an hour into the “Day of Rage” rally, one young man invited the crew to head up the street to a local BBQ joint, where he promised a free meal for protesters and press. The only moment of hostility came as the crowd was dispersing, and a nearby anti-abortion protester picked up his bullhorn to talk about “mass murder.”
A young woman from the Ferguson-related crowd responded, “Shut up!”
More Ferguson-related protests are planned for the District.
On Saturday night, people will gather at Mt. Vernon Square for a, “march to Chinatown for Michael Brown,” organized by activists from the National Black United Front, We Act Radio, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and others.
Code Pink and other activist groups will rally in front of the Justice Department on Wednesday afternoon, calling for an overhaul of law enforcement tactics and an end to police militarization. The crowd plans to march across town to Busboys and Poets at 1025 5th St. NW for a town-hall-style meeting on police killings of black men.
The Busboys and Poets event has a Capitol Hill tie-in — Keenan Keller, senior counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, is one of the panelists and speakers. Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., ranking member on the panel and two other senior Democrats have called on Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., to hold hearings on the violence that erupted in the wake of Brown’s Aug. 9 shooting.