Earlier this morning, a band of dissidents hoisted a banner over the side of an overpass just north of Dupont Circle.
“Trump & Friends, DC isn’t stupid. Good luck!” the banner read. The group that put it there calls itself the “D.C. Resistance.”
Despite the name, it’s not a resistance in the traditional sense. There will be no sabotage or midnight raids, for instance. But there will be lots of public art, said “J,” a group member who declined to give his full name. Borderstan was able to confirm his group made the banner.
“It’s an ongoing campaign against normalizing Trump’s policy,” J explained. “White nationalists and climate deniers come into D.C. to dismantle our community.”
President-elect Trump has frequently promised to “drain the swamp” in D.C., though exactly what that means isn’t totally clear. Since the election, Trump has set off a firestorm of criticism for his appointment of former Breitbart head Steve Bannon as chief strategist and his transition team’s reported consideration of a plan to create a registry for Muslim immigrants.
The D.C. Resistance exists to remind us that none of this is politics as usual.
“They’re coming in to run the government based on an ideology of white nationalism, climate denialism and a whole host of other values that aren’t lined up with the community we’ve created,” J said. “These people are not normal and they shouldn’t feel welcome.”
The group — made up of “dozens” of members — will resist normalizing the Trump administration through displays of “creativity, art, and solidarity,” which may mean more banners or public art in the coming weeks, J said.
“If the resistance had a message for the incoming administration,” J said, “it’s that the swamp is a great place to live and they’re in over their head.”
Those who want to keep track of the D.C. Resistance can follow its newly created Twitter account.
Photo courtesy of D.C. Resistance
More than two dozen demonstrators descended upon the Dupont Circle fountain this afternoon to call for action against police brutality and racism in the wake of recent police-involved shootings that killed two black men.
Outraged by this week’s shooting deaths of 37-year-old Alton Sterling in Louisiana and 32-year-old Philando Castile in Minnesota, the protesters marched around the fountain and held signs that read: “The whole damn system is guilty” and “Enough!!! Black Lives Matter.” They also chanted: “Stop killing black people!” and “No justice, no peace. No racist police!”
At times, motorists drove by the demonstration and beeped their horns as a sign of support and some drivers encouraged the protesters to keep chanting.
“The protest is a coalition of different grass roots organizations, non profits and people who feel the system needs to move beyond just reforms at a governmental level,” protester Joseph Gaylin told Borderstan. “We need to work with people.”
Demonstrator Simone Christian added: “This is about treating all people equally, like it says in our Constitution.”
Tem Ra, another protester, said Americans need to have “a real conversation about white folks and black folks and how racism started.”
“When you’re looking at racism, you’ve gotta go to the core of where it started at,” he said. “All this stuff that’s happening in the cities now is just Band-Aids. But how do you solve the core racism?”
Members of The Lamont Street Collective were officially evicted from their longstanding group home and event space in Mount Pleasant earlier today. Just as they vowed to do last month, they didn’t go quietly.
For about an hour this morning, a group of people linked arms and sang songs on the steps of the 41-year-old group home at 1822 Lamont St. NW as D.C. Police officers looked on. Their message? “We won’t yield.”
The collective’s members sang songs such as “All You Need Is Love” and “Solidarity Forever.” Some members also stood on the building’s roof above a large homemade banner that read “Thru-Out DC To $ & Power: We Won’t Yield Our Community.”
“It’s ridiculous to me how it’s not a crime to take someone’s home, but what we’re doing is a crime,” said Bryan Kovalick, one of the protesters. “I have housemates standing on the roof and inside willing to resist and willing to get arrested for this community.”
Despite the slogans and songs, the protest fizzled when police threatened to arrest some of the demonstrators for trespassing. Still, the act of civil disobedience was a victory for many of the group home’s past and present members.
“I think this is an amazing moment of non-violent, peaceful resistance,” said former Collective member Marzena Zukowska. “People are occupying space in a community that is so meaningful.”
Members of the animal rights organization Direct Action Everywhere will peacefully voice their opinions on caged animals in the zoo this Sunday at 1 p.m.
“Zoos are like prisons,” said protest organizer Barbara Glick. “We don’t believe in these. We’re just trying to speak up about how animals suffer, whether it’s for entertainment, food, or clothing.”
Direct Action Everywhere is an international animal rights organization that calls for total animal liberation. The protest, Glick said, is meant to raise awareness over the “unnatural” conditions in which the animals are kept, and to call zookeepers out on their “hypocrisy.”
“Zoos don’t allow for natural behavior. They can’t mate naturally, get food naturally, they’re killing families,” said Glick. “The ironic part is how people talk about how much they love animals, but then walk around the zoo eating a hamburger.”
After the demonstration, the group plans to head to National Harbor to protest animals in circuses.
“It’s right before Independence Day, which is really perfect because we’re celebrating independence [by protesting],” Glick added.
Photo via Direct Action Everywhere
(Updated at 4:31 p.m.) Dozens of protesters gathered near the southern boundary of Dupont today to greet Donald Trump.
The protesters, many of whom came from the nearby Human Rights Campaign headquarters, stood on the corner of 17th and M streets NW and held signs that read “love conquers hate” and “Trump’s comments: the definition of racism.”
The Republican presidential nominee is visiting a law firm’s office today to be deposed in his legal dispute over a planned restaurant in his forthcoming hotel at the Old Post Office.
Trump reportedly avoided clashing with protestors on his way into the building by using a side entrance.
Naturally, other journalists took to Twitter to share their account of the protest:
Muslim women and supporters will meet in front of the Shaw Library tomorrow afternoon to protest the “disturbing incident” where a D.C. library officer allegedly asked a woman to leave the library for wearing a hijab and threatened her with arrest when she did not.
Women will gather in front of the library at 1630 7th St. NW at 2 p.m. tomorrow to “reclaim safe spaces for Muslim women,” according to a Facebook event page.
— Dyana Forester (@DaOrganizer) March 21, 2016
Dozens of community members flocked to the Duke Ellington School of the Arts this morning to sing, chant and wave signs across from members of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church.
Westboro parishioners gathered in front of the school at 2501 11th St. NW earlier this morning to tell students “to fear God and keep His commandments.”
But dozens of counter-protestors — including D.C. councilmembers Brianne Nadeau and David Grosso — showed up in opposition of the notoriously anti-gay church. At one point, protestors broke out into “Amazing Grace” to drown out Westboro’s brand of “truth.”
Protestors holding vulgar signs will picket the Duke Ellington School of the Arts (2501 11th St. NW) and Cardozo Education Campus (1200 Clifton St. NW) on Monday at 7:30 a.m.
New post: ANNOUNCEMENT: The Meetup On February 6 Is Cancelled https://t.co/QyXpL9pVlM
— Roosh (@rooshv) February 4, 2016
(Updated at 3:17 p.m.) The controversial meetup that threatened to fill Dupont Circle with followers of a men’s rights blog is cancelled, says the blog’s founder.
I can no longer guarantee the safety or privacy of the men who want to attend on February 6, especially since most of the meetups can not be made private in time. While I can’t stop men who want to continue meeting in private groups, there will be no official Return Of Kings meetups. The listing page has been scrubbed of all locations. I apologize to all the supporters who are let down by my decision.
(UPDATE: This meetup has purportedly been cancelled. Read more about it here.)
Watch out, anti-feminists. The anti-anti-feminists are coming.
Daryush Valizadeh, who also goes by the name Roosh V and runs the notorious “masculinity” blog Return of Kings, has called for a meeting outside the Starbucks at 1501 Connecticut Ave. NW Saturday from 8 to 8:20 p.m. as part of what he’s calling an “International Tribal Meetup Day.”
During the D.C. meetup — which Roosh himself is rumored to be attending — men who stop and ask, “Do you know where I can find a pet shop?” and hear, “Yes, it’s right here,” from another man will receive directions to the site of a meeting for Return of Kings readers.
But people like Matt Kirkland, one of the counter protest’s organizers, hope to thwart the event they’re calling a “pro rape rally.” Kirkland’s plan is for about two or three dozen people to show up in front of the Starbucks on Saturday chanting slogans, holding signs and waving banners. (more…)
— The Task Force (@TheTaskForce) November 18, 2015
Controversy is brewing over the arrest of a trans-rights activist during a protest in Columbia Heights yesterday evening.
Local activist Jes Grobman was arrested after she and other demonstrators blocked the intersection of 14th and Irving streets NW last night to protest violence against trans people.
In the version of the video posted to Facebook, officers can be seen pulling, then dragging Grobman, pushing her against a police car and eventually handcuffing her. Several onlookers can be heard screaming and telling the officers to “let go of her” throughout the video.
According to the police report obtained today by Borderstan, Grobman “made several attempts to place herself in harm’s way by standing in the direct path of moving vehicles.” When an officer “advised [Grobman] … to move out of the path of the moving vehicles,” Grobman “chest bumped” the officer, said police.
But fellow trans-rights protestors tell a different story. In a MetroWeekly article about the arrest, several activists said they saw a police officer push Grobman before she was detained.
Others complained that officers failed to provide names or badge numbers when asked and failed to adequately warn Grobman before they arrested her.
Grobman, who reportedly spent the night in jail, was ultimately charged with assault on a police officer and failure to obey traffic, both misdemeanors.
Police later dropped the charges against Grobman.
The National LGBTQ Task Force, one of the non-profit organizations who helped organize last night’s protests, criticized the officers who arrested Grobman in a statement released today:
Demonstrators will gather at the station (3030 14th Street NW) at 5 p.m. today according to a Facebook event page.
Organized by Mariposas Nueva Generación, the demonstration calls for an end to violence and homicides that target transgender people throughout the country.
“We are sick of being harassed when we walk down the street,” reads an excerpt from the event page. “We are tired of being attacked just for being ourselves. The violence needs to stop. We refuse to live in fear another day.”
The rally coincides with a series of Transgender Awareness Week and Transgender Day of Resilience, events across the country.
This is the second of two planned D.C. protests. The first took place in Mount Vernon Square last night.
Image via Facebook/Mariposas Nueva Generación
A crowd of people protesting the Trans-Pacific Partnership marched through parts of downtown and Dupont Circle this afternoon.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, also known as “TPP,” is a free trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim countries, including the U.S., Australia, Chile and Vietnam. Though the U.S. government says the agreement “will make it easier for American entrepreneurs, farmers, and small business owners to sell made-in-America products abroad,” some critics say the agreement widens the gap between the haves and the have-nots, among other concerns.
Marchers, some dressed in costumes and hoisting banners, beat drums and chanted “Stop the TPP!” on loudspeakers, which could be heard several blocks away.
The protestors marched along K Street NW yesterday evening. Earlier today, the protestors were seen trudging slowly through Dupont Circle.
— Molette Green (@MoletteGreen) November 17, 2015
Sadly, the protest was missing one of its iconic members. The protest llama seen across Instagram and Twitter last night was “too tired” to participate in today’s march, said one protestor.
A little more than a dozen activists chanted slogans, sang songs and waved flags as part of a political protest in front of the embassy of the Republic of Congo (1720 16th St. NW) in Dupont Circle earlier this afternoon.
The activists represented The National Congress for Democracy, an organization that aims to “free Congo-Brazzaville from the oppressive reign of [current president] Denis Sassou Nguesso.” The organization also opposes Sassou Nguesso’s attempt to seek a third term in office.
Some protestors waved signs and booklets full of images of gruesome scenes. One sign displayed a closeup of a dead man with a gaping hole in the front of his head. Another sign depicted a small row of dead bodies, an alleged act of genocide.
“We’re here to ask the U.S. administration and President Obama to help the Congolese people to topple that dictator, to force him to go. We need to put pressure [on him],” said activist Jean-Alain Packounas.
“In the Middle East, any time someone strong stands up, the U.S. reacts the next day,” said another protestor, Jacques Miango. “Sassou Nguesso has already killed more than two million Congolese, and our children today are starving.”
Some activists waved to cars and cheered as vehicles passed the embassy. A few drivers waved and honked back. The spectacle, which grew in intensity and volume the longer it continued, even seemed to distract one driver enough to rear-end the car in front of her.
“We are just trying to bring awareness,” Miango said. “As was done when we had Apartheid in South Africa. We are just trying to bring awareness.”
The Masjid Muhammad mosque at 1519 4th St. NW was one of several mosques and Islamic community centers across the country warned by law enforcement of possible protests. The protests are being planned by a group calling itself Global Rally for Humanity, which argues that Islam presents a threat to all of humanity. The group had rallies scheduled for this weekend in 20 cities in the U.S.
The D.C. rally was scheduled to take place at Masjid Muhammad mosque Friday or Saturday, but the Facebook event for the rally has been deleted. Sultan Muhammad, a spokesperson for the mosque, said that he’s not sure if the rally will still be held, but are working with local and federal officials to bolster security in preparation for possible protests.
“The most recent update that I have to get clarified is that the list of sites where the protests are scheduled has diminished, but we don’t know which places,” Muhammad said this afternoon. “For us, we’re going to remain in heightened awareness in regards to the protest here.”
Earlier today, the mosque posted on its Facebook page warning that a demonstration could take place at any time on Friday or Saturday.
“Imam Talib SHareef and the MM Board of Advisors urge all members and visitors to avoid any contact and/or confrontation with these demonstrators,” the notice said. The post also acknowledged that the protestors will likely be trying to provoke a reaction from the congregants.
The Center for New Community, a Chicago-based organization that tracks racist and nativist movements in the U.S., and which has been monitoring the Rally for Humanity events, said on its website that a demonstration in the District is possible but not confirmed.
There is a separate anti-Muslim rally planned for the National Mall on Saturday as a counter to the rally commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 1995 Million Man March. More than 100 people have joined a Facebook event for that protest.
Muhammad said that the mosque has been contacted by many neighbors and other faith groups in the area offering any assistance with handling the protests. He added that whether or not there is a demonstration, the planned one gives members of the mosque congregation an opportunity to reflect on how to best approach anti-Islamic sentiment.
“In any event, these kind of situations always are a good education tool for our younger folks to see how we handle things in a less aggressive manner and good opportunities to teach people how to properly address these things,” he said.
Photo via Facebook/ Masjid Muhammad DC