On the 5th of December, thousands marched in DC streets after dark to protest the police murders of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and so many others. Major events of the DC march included protesting at the National Christmas Tree lighting, shutting down the 14th st Bridge (again) and I-395 in a separate incident. Protesters stormed the downtown Hyatt looking for an ALEC meeting, laid siege to the Hyatt near Union Station where ALEC was finally found, and finally stormed the Wal-Mart at 1st and H st for the 3ed time. The Wal-Mart action got tough: it was an opposed storming and security responded by locking some of the protesters inside. They were forced to let everyone back out as pressure mounted outside.
(more below photos)
The massive crowd that gathered on the steps of MPD HQ with far more still in the street
The siege of the Hyatt near Union Station where ALEC was having some kind of event
Protesters occupy the exit from I-395
Storming Wal Mart for the 3ed time in 11 days
Action began with two separate protests: one at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree and another that gathered directly at the main headquarters of the DC Metropolitian Police Department. When the tree lighting event was over, these marchers blocked 14th near the bridge causing Va State Police to divert traffic from the bridge on the other side. The combined traffic jams from the tree lighting itself and this protest extended nearly to Dupont Circle and well into Virginia. Eventually this march went to the headquarters of MDP and joined forces with protesters there.
From MPD headquarters thousands set out for the Wilson Building, where some went inside to p[ay respects to Marion Barry, the former DC Mayor who began his career as a street activist. Other protesters marched forth again and this march took a more militant turn.
The first target of the second march was the downtown Hyatt, as protesters had intelligence indicating that ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council was meeting inside. ALEC was the author of the Florida “Stand your ground” legislation that got Trayvon Martin killed. The building was caught undefended and stormed, only to discover that the intelligence was incomplete and ALEC was at the OTHER Hyatt by Union Station. On the march over to the Union Station area the march descended into the I-395 tunnel exit area and blocked it. After that protesters marched towards Union Station and charged towards the Hyatt ALEC was meeting at, only to find bike cops were already there. Likely as not they had been there ever since ALEC was mentioned at the other Hyatt.
After beseiging the Hyatt for a while, marchers went to Union Station and marched through it, but by now it was mostly empty. When marchers returned to the steets and marched up Mass Ave, rumors of another run on the Hyatt were followed by a quick right turn towards the Wal-Mart at 1st and H streets. The lead element got there well ahead of the main body of protesters and got control of the door. They were there so far ahead of the main march that security was able to respond, but the lead team was able to hold off security and mantain control of the doors just long enough for the march to arrive.
As marchers started heading through Wal-Mart’s door en masse, security guards attempted to stop them but were overpowered. For the third time in just over a week protesters swarmed upstairs into the store. This time, however, things got ugly: Protesters did not mantain control of the door and security locked many protesters inside! This led to a furious attempt to regain control of the door, finally security settled for escorting the inside protesters back to the door and reopening it for them to leave. This came very close to triggering another charge and a second, larget entry into the Wal-Mart, but organizers called that one back so everyone could get out.
At this point it was raining and even sleeting a little, but protesters stayed in the streets and went to Chinatown, where the intersection of H st and 7th st was blockaded. In this blockade protesters held their fists in the air (as in fists up-fight back) for 4 1/2 minutes, one minute for every hour cops left Michael Brown’s body in the streets.
While all this was happening, police in Cinncinatti killed yet another person in custody, this time a mentally disabled man. Clearly police and their paymasters in the shiny cars and big business have yet to learn that Ferguson protesters mean business and this movement is here to stay.