Ferguson Protesters March on Capitol, SCOTUS, DOJ
Facedown on the pavement — meant to emulate the body of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was shot and killed on Aug. 9 — one protester sprawled on the sidewalk outside the Department of Justice in downtown Washington on Tuesday morning.
Only camouflage pants and sneakers were visible beneath a pile of blankets. Ribbons of tattered, yellow police tape snaked though the scene, some draped from the necks of about two dozen fellow demonstrators who surrounded the body, passing a bullhorn and shouting rallying cries in support of protesters in Ferguson, Mo., to pedestrians and police along Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest.
“If black people in St. Louis can do it, then anybody can do it,” cried Lydia, a Howard University student and native of Missouri, who declined to give her last name. She told CQ Roll Call that she joined 200 other students in a march from U Street Northwest to the White House on Monday night, venting anger over a grand jury’s decision not to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Brown. Protesters visited all three branches of the federal government in the wake of the announcement, heading south from the executive mansion through the Capitol grounds and climbing the steps outside the Supreme Court. While rioting, infernos and gunshots were reported on the streets of Ferguson, the scene in D.C. remained peaceful.
Capitol Police said no demonstrators were arrested within the Capitol complex. The department remains at a “post-9/11 heightened level of security awareness and continues to monitor and track events related to the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri,” spokesman Shennell Antrobus stated Tuesday in an email.
In addition to the Justice Department protest, members of the Black Youth Project 100, an activist organization of 18- to 35-year-olds, planned activities around the District throughout the day and night. They started their day with an 8:28 a.m. protest outside the Metropolitan Police Department headquarters, and also planned to visit the D.C. Council, as well as to drop by Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser’s transitional office. Action was scheduled to culminate with a 7 p.m. rally in Mt. Vernon Square, but protesters will continue for a full 28 hours.
According to organizers, 28 signifies the statistic from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement that “a Black person in America is killed by a police officer or person protected by the state every 28 hours.” Rallies are planned around the nation, but the D.C. demonstration included its own unique tribute to the legacy of former Mayor Marion Barry. The civil rights activist and iconic politician died Sunday at age 78.
Law enforcement agencies are monitoring the protest activity closely. Nine marked and unmarked vehicles from MPD and the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Unit lined up along the curb outside DOJ headquarters, and uniformed officers stood near the door monitoring the situation.
Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.
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