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Washington, DC: Reclaim the Streets Party raided by police

by Robin Chen Delos Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2001 at 11:01 PM

D.C. police raided the Reclaim the Streets party today, hitting participants and bystanders with batons and putting a sudden end to the festivities. "It was really bad because we had been having a really good time and then they came," said Anai, a woman at the party who had her seven-year-old daughter with her. The event was held at the intersection of P and 22nd Streets near Dupont Circle from 4:30 pm until 6 pm when police shut the party down.

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Reclaim the Streets Party raided by police

by Robin Chen Delos 6:43pm Sat Oct 27 '01
robin@adiosbarbie.com

D.C. police raided the Reclaim the Streets party today, hitting participants and bystanders with batons and putting a sudden end to the festivities.

"It was really bad because we had been having a really good time and then they came," said Anai, a woman at the party who had her seven-year-old daughter with her. The event was held at the intersection of P and 22nd Streets near Dupont Circle from 4:30 pm until 6 pm when police shut the party down.

People were dancing when the police blocked both sides of P Steet and detained everyone on the street, including pedestrians and employees of local businesses. "We kept dancing and started talking to the police," she said.

Two people were detained in paddy-wagons and one person was taken to jail, according to eyewitnesses at the event.

"Suddenly I saw people running and police behind them asking us to go and pushing us down the steet," Anai said. People cleared P Steet and went to the corner of 22nd steet, with the police following behind. They then went back to P steet to figure out what to do next.

Participants talked to the police and asked "why can't we dance?" Then "all of a sudden the police put on their riot gear and got out their batons and started hitting people," Anai said. There was confusion and people started running, and some fell, Anai said. The police "just charged with their clubs swinging," said Jenka, another eyewitness.

"They beat people in the neighborhood," Jenka said. The police beat an employee of a P Street coffeshop after she said "you guys are assholes," Jenka said.

Police knocked people off bikes and threw them to the ground, Anai said. When she was leaving, she saw one police officer cuff a boy as other police continued to randomly hit the crowd with batons.

Amid this confusion, the police finally cleared the street a second time and prevented anyone - Reclaim the Steets partiers, pedestrians, and employees - from entering.

It is unconfirmed how many people, if any, were arrested or injured.

A few notes from Chuck0

I'm really glad that Robin put together this nice news piece about the RTS we had to today in Washington. I missed the big RTS we had here in June, so I was pretty excited about today's event. The weather was blustery and chilly, but several hundred people turned out.

I don't know how long we occupied P St., but I would say that it was for over an hour. The police were pretty frustrated that we were able to take over a street, despite their tiny efforts to keep up with us. The police pretty much allowed the RTS to happen. After the first hour, more cops showed up, but they weren't doing much. I suspect they decided to clear the street after some people overturned the one car that was being used to block the street. These people were jumping up and down on the car. Still, the atmosphere was pretty laid back.

Then the cops started coming down the street in their blue line. They knocked people down as most of the crowd was quickly walking away. They cleared the streets and chased some of the crowd up a side street. Then the cops went into standby mode and the RTS participants started drifting back to the intersection. The crowd was on the sidewalk and was having fun flipping the cops shit. At one point somebody suggested doing a "Zombie Bloc" and soon the crowd was chanting "Whose brains? Our brains!"

This went on for around 15 minutes. Then all of a sudden I saw this cop go after some guy on a bike, placing his nightstick in the rear wheel of he guys bicycle. This started an incident which quickly became a cop riot against everybody standing on the sidewalk. I saw plenty of friends clubbed and knocked down to the ground. It was looking pretty serious, but the cops were letting people get away. The goal seemed to be violence and not arrests.

It seemed that most of the people who had been knocked down or hit by the cops were OK, but one activist friend had her foot re-injured. This was the same foot that had been crushed last May by a squad of SWAT cops at the public library.

I thought that the RTS event went well, considering the weather and the cop bullying. I think that it is important to note that activists in Washington, DC are engaging in militant tactics and pretty much getting away with it. If we are doing this here in the capital of the greatest empire that ever existed, I certainly hope that you are getting out into the streets of your local community.

Chuck0
Infoshop.org

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