Friday, November 4, 2011

Occupy DC

Just got back from an Occupy DC march which surrounded the American Dream Summit (by and large a conservative gathering which included several (?) Republican presidential candidates) at the Convention Center... here are my observations, much of which appears to be getting misunderstood by the news already. For what it's worth, I'll clarify that I do not count myself among Occupy DC's ranks but nor do I affiliate myself with those against them. I just think both sides have fair points.

- I saw two fist fights. Both were between rival gangs from the area; did not involve protesters or anyone from the American Dream Summit.

- I can confirm one person & her dog were hit by a car which then left the scene. Protesters chased the car and surrounded it. Police did *not* let the driver go; they escorted it away from the protesters to investigate. Councilmember Wells confirms the driver was arrested. I hear (but did not witness) that two others have also been struck. This all occurred *after* I witnessed an American Dream Summit organiser asking police if he can run over protesters.

- Most protesters were friendly and let spokespeople with the American Dream Summit speak freely as well as let people pass through, though I did see several who were less ideal. In particular, the group on the west side tended to be more vocal at overwhelming the American Dream Summit's spokesperson and I also observed them blocking women with strollers and people in wheelchairs from exiting the American Dream Summit. The east side appeared more cordial, letting the spokesperson speak (who was very well-spoken, did not raise his voice, and overall a pleasant demeanor) and making way for people to pass.

- Every single police officer I saw acted responsibly and with excellent regard for their duties, laws, and with respect to both the protesters as well as attendees of the American Dream Summit.