Reclaim the Streets Party raided by police
by Robin Chen Delos 6:43pm Sat Oct 27 '01
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
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
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,"
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 -
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
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.
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