On the 17th of October, Code Pink showed up in front of the White House to protest the brutal US and Saudi bombing of Yemen and US weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. With an Italian indignitary due to arrive, Secret Service almost immediately closed the street. Code Pink set up on the sidewalk, as as they began speaking a pro-war right-winger began yelling “bla bla bla.” Secret Service then close Lafayette Park until the motorcade had arrived.
It seemed clear that the second closure (of Lafayette Park) was a direct response by Secret Service to the idea of a head of state or similar “VIP” having to see for himself that politics in the US brings people out to debate in the streets. The second closure was almost as soon as the right-winger started up, raising the question of a plant or paid agent.
In the mid 2000’s, even much of Penn Ave was often left open as motorcades arrived. Even a 2006 an incident where Tony Blair’s motocade was engaged by protesters on bikes until M16s were brandished didn’t seem to change that. Sometime after Obama took office it seemed Secret Service started closing larger areas, and after the Dec 2015 incident where a right-winger was prevented by a closure from burning the Koran in front of the White House Secret Service has closed Penn Ave and sometimes Lafayette Park far more often during protests than in the past. Often these closures seem rather “convenient,” as in the case of closing Lafayette Park on Oct 17 untl that Italian motorcade was too far away to see protesters without actively looking for them.
Video showing the timeline of closures and right-wing harassment of Code Pink’s protest against the US fighting for Saudi Arabia in Yemen.
Code Pink setting up, just before that first closure
Code Pink sets back up after the SS closes Penn Ave
The man in the blue shirt started yelling as soon as Code Pink mentioned the US and Saudi Arabia bombing Yemen.
Code Pink pushed back to H st after the disruptor was used as an excuse to close the park
Return to park after motocade out of reasonable sight and sound