I arrived in Washington D.C on Sunday, May 31 to cover the capitol’s handling of the George Floyd protests which have brought so many U.S cities to their proverbial knees. Before I had arrived, there had been a few instances of local violence reported on social media – but it was nowhere near the level of chaos and anarchy as Minneapolis or Atlanta.
Last night, things changed.
The protest started out as a legitimate cry for justice. Led by Black Lives Matter, the marches and calls to action were entirely violence-free, peaceful, and the model example of Americans using their right to freedom of assembly and dissent.
I stood with the protestors at the Capitol building and White House and watched as they peacefully confronted police and expressed their grief and anger over the unjustified killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.
Things escalated rapidly, however, after apparent members of Antifa’s black bloc – made up of a group of mostly white, young, males – came into the picture.
Ignoring the pleas of Black Lives Matter protesters, who had made clear at the beginning of the protest that they did not want to destroy their community or engage in looting, the Antifa rioters began to destroy. They confronted police directly, throwing water bottles and other objects at them. They lit fires, threw bricks, and destroyed property, both private businesses and government buildings.
By 10:30pm, the nation’s capital was in crisis. DC Metro police utilized flash grenades at extremely close proximity to the protestors – one piece of the metal casing even hit my leg as it was shot just feet behind me. A protestor standing next to me was hit in the hip with a rubber bullet and went down screaming.
Police also used pepper spray and their batons to try to suppress the angered protestors prior to the 11pm curfew, but that did not deter the massive, growing crowd.
By that time, several buildings, including one housing the Lafayette Park’s lawn equipment and a part of the St. John’s church, were on fire. A massive bonfire had been lit in the middle of the street outside Lafayette Square, into which a police bike and decorative trees torn out of the sidewalk were tossed.
The fires were, by and large, set by white Antifa activists. I caught much of it on film, including the vandalism of businesses and even war monuments, being carried out by these activists. Much of the time, Black Lives Matter protestors were demanding they stop, fearing police retaliation.
The riot did not calm until approximately 11:30pm, and that was after the DC Metro police, supported by National Guard, began to aggressively force the protestors off the streets.
If Minnesota is any indication, riots and protests are only going to get worse here in Washington D.C. Today, most every business in the downtown district was being boarded up in anticipation of an escalation in violence and destruction.
See ALL my reports, and SUPPORT our independent journalism, at StopAntifa.com