Things can go from good to bad to good real quick around OccupyDC. Last night the protesters marched to The White House for a “sit-in”. On the way though, about 50 – 75 of the marchers crashed the party at
The Victor Building and set up an occupation that lasted about 30 minutes. As the protesters pushed back the security guards manning the front door, I fell in line with them and figured if something was going to happen inside, well, I wanted to be in there where the action was.
As I pushed my way into the building’s lobby, the head of security for the building pointed at me and told a cop, “That’s him…that’s the guy”. I never did figure out what that meant…and I’m not sure I want to.
After some chanting, sign waving and finger
pointing, we left what is the D.C. headquarters of Brookfield properties – the folks who own Zuccotti Park in NYC. Zuccotti Park is the home of OccupyWS and was the site last night of the police action that cleared the park of protesters and their gear. So this march last night was in solidarity with OccupyWS.
Something happened that I couldn’t figure out though. While we were crashing the lobby and occupying the first floor of the Victor Building, about 20 police officers were lined up – outside and across the street. They didn’t budge from their position. I was half convinced the cops were going to move forward and shut and lock the doors thus trapping us inside wehre they could arrest us at their leisure. The cops never moved.
Once we vacated the Victor Building and continued the march, rumor started to drift down the column that the police were getting ready to raid McPherson Square. Not wanting to miss anything that was getting ready to happen, I peeled off from the marchers and took a short cut through Chinatown back to the square.
Sure enough, the cops were there. They appeard to be to be readying themselves to go into the park and clear it out just as the cops in NYC and elsewhere have done. And then it came.
At almost the last possible minute, the D.C. City Council met and decided to support the OccupyDC movement. They called off the cops at almost literally the last second before the craziness would have started.
The police here in D.C. have shown – what to me can only be termed “remarkable restraint”. My hat is off to them for the job they’ve done so far – even if I did “meet” two of them a couple weeks ago.
Jerry Nelson is a nationally recognized photojournalist. His work has appeared in many national, regional and local publications including CNN, USAToday, Upsurge, Earthwalkers and Associated Content. Nelson travels the country seeking out the people, places and things that make America unique and great. Nelson currently is in Washington D.C. pointing his camera at OccupyDC and freelancing for The Washington Times the second largest paper in the nation’s capital.
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