While I did not think it was possible, my second day in Washington D.C covering the George Floyd protests and Antifa riots was more chaotic than the first.
On night one, I reported live from the nation’s capital as tensions mounted between police and demonstrators. While the Black Lives Matter protestors were largely peaceful, demanding that no one loot, destroy, or harm police, things changed when Antifa showed up and began doing just that.
Fires were started in the streets, the White House lawn equipment building was totally destroyed, war monuments were vandalized, and businesses were broken into.
The D.C Metro police’s response was lackluster to say the least – often retreating from the protestors-turned-rioters, and not taking any significant dispersant action until almost one hour after the curfew had passed.
The demonstrations of June 1 were significantly different.
The Mayor increased the curfew stretch, changing the start time from 11 pm to 7pm, thereby leading the protests to begin earlier. By 5pm, there was a crowd of literally hundreds of people at Lafayette Square, where the most serious of the havoc had happened the previous night. The D.C metro police were emboldened by the support of military police and National Guard, who formed a line outside of the White House over 100 strong.
At Lafayette Square, the protestors were angry but peaceful. There was no destruction of property occurring, and no altercations with police.
By 6:30pm, the police began issuing warnings, spaced three minutes apart. On the third warning, they charged at the protestors, issuing close-range teargas, rubber bullets, and flash grenades. Protestors were undeterred, moving back but continuing to demonstrate.
Every few minutes, the police began methodically charging the protestors, grabbing whoever they could, and arresting them. Point-blank shots of deterrents were lobbed into the crowd constantly. This continued with the support of D.C Metro police on horseback, who were also charging the protest line.
After several charges by police forcing the protest line back, the protestors began to march down 14th Street, a roadway that had not been blocked off to traffic. Police remained near the White House as President Donald Trump was expected to make an announcement at the St. John’s Church, the church just outside of Lafayette Square which had burned the previous night.
While I was not able to catch the footage from 14th on film, there are reports that protestors had been surrounded by police and were forced to take shelter in the homes of strangers who
invited them in for protection as police began finally enforcing curfew and arresting demonstrators.
Taking a final sweep of the city close to 11pm, I noted that several dozen protestors were still wandering. While the curfew may have been enforced on the marching line on 14th Street, there were still literally hundreds of people on the streets.
Chinatown experienced a tremendous amount of damage, with all of the non-boarded businesses near the Gate being smashed wide open. Police and military had formed blockades and lines in the district, but protestors were still active in the area.
At 11:25pm, large groups of the protestors were being dispersed using teargas and flash grenades. I very narrowly missed being arrested by a charging police offer, having to loudly announce my press credentials to have him bypass me.
Washington D.C is under incredible strain, and the protests – while currently under control as of this writing – are at risk for a flareup like we’ve seen in other U.S cities.
Tonight, I am heading to New York City to take in the destruction there and will be reporting live on both my own and Rebel News’ Twitter. Keep an eye out! You can see all my reports, and support our independent, on-the-ground journalism, at StopAntifa.com.