On the 20th of March, a massive crowd of protesters including many from Occupied Palestine rallied at the White House before marching in force on the Convention Center, where AIPAC was holding their convention and Hillery Clinton was due to speak. Secret Service tried to disrupt the initial rally by “closing” Penn Ave but the crowd refused to move. It was nearly an hour later that everyone finally did leave the disputed area, only to stream through the streets and confront attendees at AIPAC a few blocks away. One marcher recieved minor injuries in a confrontation with a very aggressive AIPAC attendee, but for the most part it was AIPAC that was forced onto the defensive. The protest was several times larger than the past few year’s AIPAC protests and much more militant.
Secret Service attempted to push the intial rally into Lafayette Park (Peace park) with their usual whistles and then by telling cooperating bystanders “they’re all getting arrested” but the crowd would have required hours, dozens of busses, and probably over 1,000 cops to mass arrest. The resulting court cases would have then cost the government millions in judgements. Alternately, the cops could have tried pepper spray and clubs, but they were not judged a serious threat by a crowd including people who have faced Israeli troops on the field of battle. In the end, with their bluff called, they decided they had no choice but to let the rally continue until the march started about an hour later.
That march went through Chinatown, where it was announced that Hillery Clinton had plans to address the AIPAC delegates at the Verizon Center rather than at the Convention Center, one hour from the announcment. The person making this announcment suggested staying in that area to block AIPAC delegages from moving but was quickly overruled or ignored. The march proceeded to the Convention Center, and well over an hour later there was no evidence of any attempt to move the whole mess past this tough and determined crowd. A motorcade that could have belonged to Hillery Clinton or some other big shot did go to the Convention Center by the 7th st entrance, no evidence of one going south was seen by anyone,
Time and again, the huge crowd erupted in booing when AIPAC delegates ran the gauntlet to get to the Convention Center’s doors. When the crowd first reached the building it seemed likely the one cop thick police line would be charged and the front doors stormed but the charge never came. Instead, everyone pushed up close and the chorus of boos and shaming chants was enough that some of the AIPAC attendees seemed to lose their tempers. One of them spent nearly an hour baiting and harassing people before punching a protester and leaving a reddened area on his face. He then had to hurredly retreat as the crowd charged him, demanding that police place him under arrest for assault. Police did nothing and he entered the Convention Center without being arrested. Fortunatly police did not turn around and arrest his victim, something they are known for in this kind of situation.
Due to the plans for Donald Trump to speak at AIPAC (American Israeli Political Affairs Comittee) the following day, the protest included representatives of hard-core antifascist organizations that normally confront neo-Nazi and Klan marches. Trump has created controversy even inside AIPAC with his gutter racism and hate, which is too much even for many who are just fine with ethnic cleansing and apartheid in Palestine. Some of the rabbis that are boycotting Trump’s appearance said his “approach to power” was considered entirely too threatening and vulgar. Meanwhile, Trump has done poorly in the fight with the US progressive movement he has challenged activists to. He has ben shut down in Chicago and Arizona, and the newly energized Left is applying some of that energy to dealing with other kinds of bigots like the kind that build new settlements in the occupied West Bank.
THIS is the only way the pro-Palestine march was leaving Penn Ave-at their intended time to march. Secret Service was utterly defeated in their attempt to push the previous rally into Lafayette Park.
This crowd took space from the Convention Center steps all the way to the opposite side of the street
This is what the front line looked like as the crowd erupted again and again into a chorus of boos
Hillery Clinton as “Lady MacDeath” for her support for Israeli occupation of Palestine