On the 20th of May, hundreds of opponents of foreclosures marched on the Department of Justice demanding that the “too big to fail” bankers be jailed and foreclosures be ended. Many were arrested and two were Tasered, but at the end of the day the police had left and protesters remained, tents pitched to stay the night.
The day begin with a march from Freedom Plaza down Penn Ave to the Department of Justice. The main theme of the march and later actions was “The People are Too Big to Fail.” One estimate put the size of the march at 500 people.
About 20 arrests were reported in the later civil disobediance.
The march half-circled the building before descending on the Constitution Ave entrance. Here, as on Penn Ave, police had hard-barricaded the area in front of the doors with fences chained to the concrete planters. It didn’t work.
First some of the protesters who planned to participate in civil disobediance jumped or climbed the barricades, then pushed into the cops. The cops retreated. More protesters came over and the cops retreated to the doors. The cops retreated through the doors and shut the doors of Justice. Finally the barricades were torn and broken down and the area in front of the doors completely taken over by activists. Meanwhile, tents were pitched in the grass to the right of the doorway.
Next, the main body of protestesrs divided into a pre-arranged pair of teams, with Blue Team marching to 10th st, and Orange team to 9th st. Each team has a long orange net labeled “evicton free zone,” wide enough to block the street all the way across. Both teams made feints at blockading the parking driveway exits. At one point,everyone converged to block the intersection of 9th st and Constitution Ave. Finally, both teams returned all the way around the building as police began arresting the folks who had stayed at the front doors.
Again the crowd challenged and pushed into police lines. This time, however, one of the cops suddenly opened up with a Tazer, using it first on a transgender woman who went down hard and was being arrested without resistance. He then turned and tasered a second person.
Tasers are weapons and can KILL if used on a person with a heart condition. This is not a consideration when defending against someone with a knife or a bat, but should be enough to totally ban the user of Tasers as “compliance” devices by any law enforcement agency.
At this point, protesters changed tactics again, blocking Constitution Ave with the orange nets in an attempt to prevent police vehicles from leaving with arrestees. Instead of cops kettling protesters, protesters kettled the cops! Constitution Ave remained blocked until nearly 7:30PM. At about this time, police simply withdrew, I don’t know if the barricade was removed before or after that.
With the cops gone, activists returned to the doors of the DOJ, while others settled into their tents for what is going to be a long night.
As of 1AM May 21, protesters were still camping out at DOJ-under threat of arrest at 6AM for blocking the doors
At about 7AM, cops returned to DOJ, arresting 12 more people and Tasering at least two. The occupation is still in place as of May 21 at 8PM, however. One report says 6 people have now been hit with Taser attacks by police.