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J27 Anti-War Demonstration

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3

Part 2

And the march continued down 7th Street, as we marched past Pennsylvania Avenue, past the National Archives, past Constitution Avenue, and onto the National Mall, reaching the mainstream march.  Unlike at the Million Worker March, where our group dissolved into the main event upon arrival, we weren’t through yet.  We kept on going, hanging a left on Independence Avenue SW and heading towards the Capitol itself.  We marched along Independence Avenue all the way to 3rd Street SW.  There, we made another left turn, which put us slightly east of the stage (i.e. behind the stage) of the mainstream march, roughly centered against the backdrop of the Capitol.


The black bloc crosses the mall, the location of the mainstream march, for the first time.  The black bloc crosses the mall, the location of the mainstream march, for the first time.

The black bloc crosses the mall, the location of the mainstream march, for the first time.

The black bloc crosses the mall, the location of the mainstream march, for the first time.  The black bloc crosses the mall, the location of the mainstream march, for the first time.


A pan across the crowd while the march briefly pauses before continuing on.


Having crossed the mall, we turned to march east on Independence Avenue SW.

Having crossed the mall, we turned to march east on Independence Avenue SW.

Having crossed the mall, we turned to march east on Independence Avenue SW.


“No justice, no peace!” changes to “Bring the war home!”  Three anarcha-feminist flags are flying, as well as one anarcho-syndicalist flag.


As the Capitol comes into view, a fellow black bloc participant takes video footage of the march.

As the Capitol comes into view, a fellow black bloc participant takes video footage of the march.


The Capitol is in view, as we begin to close in.

The Capitol is in view, as we begin to close in.


Now this is where things get exciting.  East of 3rd Street, Capitol Police officers were out in their cars and on their motorcycles to keep the crowd in the area where it had a permit to be.  Those boundaries were 7th Street on the west and 3rd Street on the east.  That’s all fine and dandy, but we were interested in taking direct action.  And so our black bloc (pardon me, “Radical Youth Bloc”) charged the line of police.  They reacted as expected and tried to block our way, but we went right on through.  We basically pushed the police back in stages.  First we broke through their lines near the street.  Then we took the Reflecting Pool, which was actually frozen over (we went around it).  We ultimately pushed them all the way back to the west front of the Capitol itself, where the officers formed lines in front of the steps and set up barricades.  We were concentrated on the more southern of the two sets of steps on that side.  In other words, if you’re looking at the west side of the Capitol, we were at the steps on the right side.


Standing in the grass east of 3rd Street before we began to rush the police line.

Standing in the grass east of 3rd Street before we began to rush the police line.


Some people locked arms, in preparation for a possible conflict.

Some people locked arms, in preparation for a possible conflict.


The chant goes from “Show me what a police state looks like!  This is what a police state looks like!” to “The people, united, will never be defeated!”


The black bloc rushes the Capitol Police's line of motorcycles.  The black bloc rushes the Capitol Police's line of motorcycles.

The black bloc rushes the Capitol Police’s line of motorcycles.


The black bloc, after picking up a decent amount of people from the mainstream march, took the Capitol Reflecting Pool.

The black bloc, after picking up a decent amount of people from the mainstream march, took the Capitol Reflecting Pool.


Shouting, “The people, united, will never be defeated!” we begin to leave the Reflecting Pool and continue our march east.


The Reflecting Pool was just a stepping stone. We had bigger things in mind!

The Reflecting Pool was just a stepping stone.  We had bigger things in mind!

The Reflecting Pool was just a stepping stone. We had bigger things in mind!


We were on our way to the Capitol!

We were on our way to the Capitol!


We are beyond the reflecting pool, and closing.  The march is briefly paused.


We marched up the lawn and right up to the west front of the Capitol.  We marched up the lawn and right up to the west front of the Capitol.

We marched up the lawn and right up to the west front of the Capitol.

We marched up the lawn and right up to the west front of the Capitol.  We marched up the lawn and right up to the west front of the Capitol.


On the ground, I found a discarded sign showing a gas pump and the words, "Class war not gas war".

On the ground, I found a discarded sign showing a gas pump and the words, “Class war not gas war”.


We have arrived!


We have made it to the steps!  We have made it to the steps!

We have made it to the steps!


At this first rushing of the steps of the Capitol, we shouted a number of chants, including, “The people, united, will never be defeated!”, “Whose Congress?  Our Congress!”, “Stop the funding!  Stop the war!  What the hell is Congress for?”, and my personal favorite, illustrating the lighter side of these events, “We want a tour!  We want a tour!”


This woman's sign turns the word "war" into an acronym: Wasting Another's Resources.

This woman’s sign turns the word “war” into an acronym: Wasting Another’s Resources.


The Capitol Police held the steps and that was the end of our rush.  The Capitol Police held the steps and that was the end of our rush.

The Capitol Police held the steps and that was the end of our rush.


As you can see, we were quite a ways away from the mainstream march, which ended way back at 3rd Street. Note the location of the two speaker towers near the center of the photo.

As you can see, we were quite a ways away from the mainstream march, which ended way back at 3rd Street.  Note the location of the two speaker towers near the center of the photo.


We start out shouting, “We want a tour!”  When that chant degrades, it is replaced with “Whose Congress?  Our Congress!”


“Stop the funding!  Stop the war!  What the hell is Congress for?”


“What do we want?  Peace (and freedom)!  When do we want it?  NOW!”


From here, after a little while, we marched around to the southeast side of the Capitol, which is on the House of Representatives side of the building.  This technically put our demonstration in Southeast, which is the one quadrant of the city where I’d never expect to see something like this.  But regardless, here we are.  To reach this southeast corner, we actually marched through a tent-like tunnel, which I believe is regularly used in conjunction with tours of the Capitol.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw someone spray-painting the anarchy sign on the sides of the tent.  I was surprised, to say the least.


“No bombs, no tanks, we’ll burn your f—ing banks!”


Approaching the tunnel...

Approaching the tunnel…


Approaching the tunnel...

…and marching through the tunnel.


The tunnel is tagged with the anarchy sign!  The tunnel is tagged with the anarchy sign!

The tunnel is tagged with the anarchy sign!


The group is now outside again, on the other side of the tunnel.

The group is now outside again, on the other side of the tunnel.


These officers appear mildly perturbed as we pass by their station.

These officers appear mildly perturbed as we pass by their station.


Arriving at the southeast corner, it was kind of one of those “now what?” moments.  At this point, we lacked direction, since we’d marched in and didn’t have a concrete plan from here.  At one point, a Capitol Police officer tried to arrest one demonstrator, but ultimately failed in doing so, as she was fighting against the black bloc for possession of one person.  The officer ultimately gave up on the attempt.  At another point, a number of people in the group got down on their knees and began bowing down to the Capitol Police officers.


More people were arriving all the time through the tunnel.  More people were arriving all the time through the tunnel.

More people were arriving all the time through the tunnel.


Everyone's just kind of like, now what?  Everyone's just kind of like, now what?

Everyone’s just kind of like, now what?


A Capitol Police officer is attempting to arrest a demonstrator. Note her hand on the person's bag. The remainder of the black bloc would not give him up without a fight. The officer ultimately gave up the fight.

A Capitol Police officer is attempting to arrest a demonstrator.  Note her hand on the person’s bag.  The remainder of the black bloc would not give him up without a fight.  The officer ultimately gave up the fight.


With fists and flags raised, we demonstrate!

With fists and flags raised, we demonstrate!


While we demonstrated, Capitol Police officers stood up high, holding bullhorns.

While we demonstrated, Capitol Police officers stood up high, holding bullhorns.

While we demonstrated, Capitol Police officers stood up high, holding bullhorns.


The protest continues on the southeast side of the Capitol.  A man can be heard passing out the number for legal aid.


This masked person shows off two things: the Genocide Intervention Network shirt that they are wearing, and also the number for legal assistance for J27 that was written on their arm. Writing numbers for legal help on one's arm is standard practice for many activists. This way, because if it's written directly on the skin, it's not likely to get lost in the chaos of an arrest.

This masked person shows off two things: the Genocide Intervention Network shirt that they are wearing, and also the number for legal assistance for J27 that was written on their arm.  Writing numbers for legal help on one’s arm is standard practice for many activists.  This way, because if it’s written directly on the skin, it’s not likely to get lost in the chaos of an arrest.


Bowing down to the Capitol Police officers.

Bowing down to the Capitol Police officers.


And then we left the southeast corner, going back the way we came – through the tunnel.  We returned to the southwest corner, to the steps.  I think that our lack of direction at this juncture was best exemplified by the song we were singing as we marched back: The Ants Go Marching One By One.


We leave the southeast corner of the Capitol, this time going around the tunnel, rather than through it.

We leave the southeast corner of the Capitol, this time going around the tunnel, rather than through it.


Walking back around to the west front of the Capitol, with most of us going at a leisurely pace.

Walking back around to the west front of the Capitol, with most of us going at a leisurely pace.


“…and they all go marching down to the ground to get out of the rain!”


Some people, however, chose to run for it.

Some people, however, chose to run for it.


Some arrived in rows, with arms locked.

Some arrived in rows, with arms locked.


A woman dressed in pink holds up a sign to a row of police officers. The sign says, "Bring my husband home now!"

A woman dressed in pink holds up a sign to a row of police officers.  The sign says, “Bring my husband home now!”


A woman holds a black flag while wearing another Anti-Flag shirt.

A woman holds a black flag while wearing another Anti-Flag shirt.


When we got back to the west front of the Capitol, after a few minutes a man, presumably with SDS, got on a bullhorn and tried to restore some sense of direction to our march.  He was ultimately unsuccessful in getting any sense of direction at this point.


A man addresses the crowd with a bullhorn, and takes a straw poll on where to go.

A man addresses the crowd with a bullhorn, and takes a straw poll on where to go.

A man addresses the crowd with a bullhorn, and takes a straw poll on where to go.


“…we’ll do this democratically.  We’ll do a fist for option one…”

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Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3

Part 2