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September 24 Protests

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5

Part 4

A woman wearing a bandanna with part of a skull printed on it carries a sign saying, "Imagine nothing to kill or die for!"

A woman wearing a bandanna with part of a skull printed on it carries a sign saying, “Imagine nothing to kill or die for!”


From this intersection, we marched north on 17th Street NW past Farragut Square, going as far as K Street.  At K Street, we marched east to 16th Street NW, and then headed south.  This took us past St. John’s Episcopal Church, and then right into Lafayette Square.


Passing by Farragut Square once again...

Passing by Farragut Square once again…


While once again shouting, “Whose streets?  Our streets!” people start shouting for the march to slow down.


Marching east along K Street NW...

Marching east along K Street NW…


The chant of “Politicians, we can’t trust, revolution is a must!” degrades into “Whose streets?  Our streets!” once again.


Marching straight down 16th Street from K Street NW, past St. John's Episcopal Church, and into Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House.  Marching straight down 16th Street from K Street NW, past St. John's Episcopal Church, and into Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House.

Marching straight down 16th Street from K Street NW, past St. John’s Episcopal Church, and into Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House.

Marching straight down 16th Street from K Street NW, past St. John's Episcopal Church, and into Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House.  Marching straight down 16th Street from K Street NW, past St. John's Episcopal Church, and into Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House.


In Lafayette Square, the black bloc temporarily joined the rest of the protesters gathered.  The black bloc went straight through the park to Pennsylvania Avenue, and then turned west.  We then attempted to continue north on Jackson Place NW on the west side of Lafayette Square until we encountered a wall of Park Police in riot gear.  At this point, a call was made for all the street medics to basically get ready for action, as it was believed that things might turn ugly.  I kept my distance, just in case something did happen.  Thankfully, the black bloc veered to the right, and continued through Lafayette Square and back to H Street NW.


A sea of protesters stands in front of the White House!

A sea of protesters stands in front of the White House!


Panning across Lafayette Square to show the size of the crowd gathered.


The black bloc marches past a row of Park Police officers in riot gear.

The black bloc marches past a row of Park Police officers in riot gear.


After the brief brush with Park Police, the black bloc heads north and exits Lafayette Square.

After the brief brush with Park Police, the black bloc heads north and exits Lafayette Square.

After the brief brush with Park Police, the black bloc heads north and exits Lafayette Square.


The black bloc is underway again!

The black bloc is underway again!


From here, my photographer friend and I determined that we were going to split from the black bloc.  We both agreed that the black bloc seemed to have lost its focus, and now seemed to be marching haphazardly through the streets, for the sake of trying to one-up the police.  And we both agreed that when these things happen, the police always win, and that it usually is not pretty when it does finally come to an end.  The inauguration was a good instance of this, where a black bloc broke off from the main march to head towards Logan Circle.  The crowd was pepper sprayed en route.

According to an article on DC Indymedia that I found the day after the march, after we split from the group, the black bloc ended up heading towards “the nearest recruitment center” (a military recruitment center exists at approximately 14th and L Streets NW) when police on motorcycles began backfiring their motors.  This mostly scattered the bloc, and events following this “saw many protesters scattering newspaper boxes, dumpsters, etc. to slow the police, saw more protesters scattering for independent actions, saw the main bloc reduced to 60 people, and concluded with the cops charging through and knocking down several protesters at 11th & K.  One was taken prisoner.”

So as the black bloc continued, the two of us split from that group and joined the main ANSWER/UFPJ anti-war march at H Street NW.  This march, as expected, was far more sedate than the earlier black bloc march, and we were ready for a change, because while the black bloc march was exciting, it was also tiring.


The more "mass market" style of the larger demonstration was also evident, with representatives from ANSWER and UFPJ's holding large buckets out in the street, asking demonstrators for money.

The more “mass market” style of the larger demonstration was also evident, with representatives from ANSWER and UFPJ’s holding large buckets out in the street, asking demonstrators for money.


The ANSWER/UFPJ march took us east on H Street NW as far as 14th Street, then we took 14th Street NW south to Pennsylvania Avenue, past Freedom Plaza.


The ANSWER/UFPJ march was definitely more laid-back than the Mobilization for Global Justice march, and the later black bloc breakaway march.

The ANSWER/UFPJ march was definitely more laid-back than the Mobilization for Global Justice march, and the later black bloc breakaway march.


While two people hold large religious signs and another holds a Bible, the gentleman in the green jacket speaks over a bullhorn.


At times, the march seemed downright sparsely populated.

At times, the march seemed downright sparsely populated.


Passing the west side of Freedom Plaza, preparing to make a turn onto Pennsylvania Avenue.

Passing the west side of Freedom Plaza, preparing to make a turn onto Pennsylvania Avenue.


We marched east on Pennsylvania Avenue NW as far as 9th Street NW, then turned south again, and followed 9th Street NW to its intersection with Constitution Avenue NW.  On Constitution Avenue NW, we marched westward, to the march’s end at 15th Street NW.

Along this route, we encountered counter-protesters at two locations.  The largest group of counter-protesters was sponsored by the DC Chapter of the Free Republic (otherwise known as “Freepers”), in front of the FBI Building between 9th and 10th Streets NW along Pennsylvania Avenue.  I had previously encountered Freepers counter-protesting at the June 5, 2004 ANSWER march, and also at the anti-war funeral-style procession (part of my Day of Activism photo set).  On this particular day, we got movies of the Freepers making fools of themselves, as they incorrectly referred to those of us in black bloc as “communists” (black blocs are more closely aligned to anarchism than communism).


The Freepers lined the block in front of the FBI Building, counter-protesting.

The Freepers lined the block in front of the FBI Building, counter-protesting.

The Freepers lined the block in front of the FBI Building, counter-protesting.

The Freepers lined the block in front of the FBI Building, counter-protesting.


The Freepers weren't the only ones counter-protesting, however.  Another group of counter-protesters unrelated to the Freepers was located at 14th and Constitution.

The Freepers weren’t the only ones counter-protesting, however.  Another group of counter-protesters unrelated to the Freepers was located at 14th and Constitution.


At 14th and Constitution, we paused.  We needed a break from the march, and were of the understanding that the black bloc from earlier would pass by.  While the black bloc ended up heading towards the recruitment center, we did get to see a lot of other demonstrators and their signs regarding the war in Iraq.


This woman was standing at the same street corner as we were, selling commemorative September 24 t-shirts.  When she commented that she only had two left, I jokingly commented to the person I was with, "If we buy them, do you think she'll go away?"

This woman was standing at the same street corner as we were, selling commemorative September 24 t-shirts.  When she commented that she only had two left, I jokingly commented to the person I was with, “If we buy them, do you think she’ll go away?”


Using money taped to a poster, this person advocates letting the rich fight their own wars.

Using money taped to a poster, this person advocates letting the rich fight their own wars.

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Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5

Part 4