On the 18th of October, Trans Week of Action protesters took to the streets for the second night in a row. This time around, the blockades targeted the area around Target. Police tried to aggressively move traffic past protesters. When protesters stood their ground, one cop responded first with pushing, then with a violent takedown and arrest of an activist perceived as an organizer. Arrest can be a life-threatening experience for any transgender person, so the rest of the protesters were severely agitated by this, ultimately responding by retaking the exact same intersection.
The situation began with cars honking at the blockade to a degree well beyond what would be seen in most other protests. In response, police tried to push protesters back so they could direct motorists to make right turns past the barricade. One cop became very pushy with one of the protesters, who recited DC law holding that she had the right to be in the street. The cop’s response was to put aside any such law and instead resort to violence. As seems to be the usual practice, police followed up their violence by filing a charge of “assaulting an officer.”
Update 11-19 1PM: Two different sources report this bogus charge will be dropped.
Many transgender people do not dare call the police even if beaten or shot at by the sort of bigots who harassed the Nov 17th march, due to the severe danger of being sexually or physically assaulted by police. This is something 20% of DC’s trans community has experienced in person. Due to this, some activists are treating the November 18th arrest of a trans woman at the 22nd street march as a far more dangerous situation than normal protest arrests. The police should consider the possiblity that if any harm comes to this activist in custody, weeks or even months of nightly street blockades could be the price.
The slogan “Trans Lives Matter” was used both nights, and although controversial it was reportedly used only after dicussion with some of DC’s Black Lives Matter activists. Blackout DC was a co-organizer of previous night’s (Nov 17) march that began at Mt Vernon Square, passed the now-condoized 5th and K area, and marched to Wal-Mart where a former transgender worker they fired has filed a discrimination lawsuit.That march was met with bigotry and slurs by bystanders but no violence.I was informed at that march that a previous march in August was met by someone ramming them with a car. On the 17th,I overheard many anti-transgender slurs from a couple of disruptors, one or whom first complained by the Wal-Mart about an obstructed commute, then pursued the protesters and at least once used the word “normal” in a highly insulting manner.
This incident of a cop shoving a protester led to a violent arrest
The same protester being dragged away after being brutally taken down by cops
Protesters were blocking 14th st by Target and the shopping area
The police violence led to a second, punitive blockade in the same location