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Midnight March

Part 1 – Part 2

Part 2

As we left the Renaissance, we shouted, “They’re the ones with the guns!” in reference to the police, before starting a quiet march to our next target.


Gas prices displayed at an Exxon station along our march route.  The price of gasoline began to fall dramatically not long after this particular weekend.

Gas prices displayed at an Exxon station along our march route.  The price of gasoline began to fall dramatically not long after this particular weekend.


We continued until we reached the Ritz Carlton and the Westin Grand, which are roughly across the street from each other.  Both places were housing World Bank and IMF delegates, and so we basically went between the two.  The most interesting scene was when one girl took her homemade hula hoop and started using it in the street.  She was going for quite some time with it, until the police made those standing in the street go to one side or the other.  Thus the performance ended, as everyone crossed over to the Westin Grand side.


Marching right past the entrance to the Ritz Carlton without stopping, while police blocked the doors in anticipation of our stopping.


At the Westin Grand Hotel.  At the Westin Grand Hotel.

At the Westin Grand Hotel.


Hula hooping in the street, using a hula hoop made out of a piece of PVC pipe found in a dumpster.


Leaving these two hotels, and heading towards the Fairmont, the lighter side of this march showed its face, as people started chanting about how they have to go to the bathroom.  Seriously.  The chant became, “Who else really has to pee?  I DO!  I DO!” and “Who else really has to poop?  I DO!  I DO!”


Yes, they really did say it…


However, we got back on message by the time we reached the Fairmont, and paid them a brief visit.


Our arrival at the Fairmont.

Our arrival at the Fairmont.


Leaving the Fairmont, history seemed to repeat itself, as Engine Company 1 on M Street had to respond to a call as we passed by, just as it did in 2006.  However, the reaction from demonstrators was different this time around.  In 2006, a number of people viewed the fire truck’s appearance as an attempt to slow the march down.  This time around, a number of people accused the bike cops of blocking the fire engine.



And then we returned to a few spots again, as we paid the Ritz-Carlton and the Renaissance a second visit, before heading back to Dupont Circle via New Hampshire Avenue, thus ending the official march.


 

 

 


The cops, meanwhile, kept close by.  The cops, meanwhile, kept close by.

The cops, meanwhile, kept close by.


Returning to Dupont Circle at the end of the march.

Returning to Dupont Circle at the end of the march.


At Dupont Circle, we continued to have a large police escort, as they waited to see what our next move would be.  They weren’t going to leave us until they were certain that we were done.  But there was really nothing to it.  By this time, it was 3:00 AM, and a number of people formed a small “cuddle huddle” in the grass in the southwest side of the park, and just kind of goofed off for a while.  The black bloc stuff came off, and people were just having some late night fun in Dupont Circle.


Cuddle huddle!  Cuddle huddle!

Cuddle huddle!

Cuddle huddle!  Cuddle huddle!


While some people decided to call it a night at this point, a number of us weren’t quite ready to pack it in just yet.  So we started up again, though this was by no means a march.  It was more like a group of friends going out somewhere.  After all, most everyone already knew each other and got along well.  The only way you could tell that we were a group of rowdy activists was that we still had our police escort!  We went to SoHo, a little independent coffee shop that was open until 4 AM.  There, the cops called it a night, figuring the action was probably over.  At SoHo, a number of people bought food and drinks, and many took advantage of the restroom facilities available there.

Additionally, I got to show off my camera equipment to a fellow photographer.  His old standby was a digital SLR, while I prefer a point-and-shoot so I can have movies and stills in one camera.  He was impressed about the megapixels for the price on the Kodak, plus took a look at Duckie, which I took along for this march, though it saw no action.


Wheelock fire alarm strobe in the restroom at SoHo.  Apparently it had been taped when the restroom was painted, and the tape was never removed.  Patrons also took the opportunity to doodle on the strobe body.

Wheelock fire alarm strobe in the restroom at SoHo.  Apparently it had been taped when the restroom was painted, and the tape was never removed.  Patrons also took the opportunity to doodle on the strobe body.


While I was in the restroom, the photographer that I showed the Kodak and Duckie to took an opportunity to give the Kodak a whirl, and shot this photo at SoHo.

While I was in the restroom, the photographer that I showed the Kodak and Duckie to took an opportunity to give the Kodak a whirl, and shot this photo at SoHo.


Afterwards, our group split in two.  One group went back to the streets, and paid a visit to the hotels that the black bloc had previously visited.  The other group stayed at SoHo for a little while longer.

I went with the former group, and hit the streets, starting with the Hotel Palomar on P Street NW.  We quickly determined our plan for this march as the time approached 4:00.  The idea was to make noise as long as we could, and then as soon as we even thought we saw a police car, to immediately stop and continue like nothing was going on.  As we approached the Palomar, one person brought up the question, “Do we need to mask up?”  After all, one of the staples of a black bloc is the masks.  I responded, “Do we need to?” and people pretty much agreed that the masks were probably unnecessary.  After all, those in the media had basically cleared out after we got to Dupont Circle, thinking the march was over.  Additionally, the police had dispersed.  Who were we masking up for?

Arriving at the Hotel Palomar, we made noise, banging on our pots and pans with sticks, as per the original plan for the first march.  But with no cops around, who was to stop us?  We had a grand old time, and added one more rule to our operating procedures: Don’t rap on the buildings.  When we got going at the Palomar, an employee at the hotel came out and told us we could make all the noise we wanted, but asked that we don’t hit the building.  Fair enough.


Making as much noise as we can outside the Hotel Palomar.  In the last few seconds of the clip, everyone quickly stops demonstrating when it is believed that a police car has been spotted.


This march continued around to nearly all of the hotels that we visited with the black bloc, making noise with our pots and pans, and then stopping when we spotted a police car.


Making noise at the Hilton Washington Embassy Row hotel.  Making noise at the Hilton Washington Embassy Row hotel.

Making noise at the Hilton Washington Embassy Row hotel.


Shouting, “Live to annoy!” and “No war but class war!” while making noise on pots and pans outside the Hilton.  Note that our protest is getting people’s attention, as lights were coming on in the upper floors of the building.


Demonstrating outside the Ritz-Carlton, shouting, “F— the IMF!”


Underway again...

Underway again…


Going past the entrance to the Renaissance, shouting both “F— the IMF!” and “F— the World Bank!”  As we pass the doors themselves, note the gentleman inside the hotel, presumably an employee, pointing and gesturing at us from inside as if to say, “THEM!  They’re back!”


Having a grand time at the Renaissance Hotel, slightly away from the main entrance.

Having a grand time at the Renaissance Hotel, slightly away from the main entrance.


Approaching the St. Gregory.

Approaching the St. Gregory.


And eventually, we found our way back to Dupont Circle, where we rejoined the other half of our group.  The folks going to Virginia made their own way back, and those of us going to Maryland quickly figured out a plan for getting there.  We had two cars, both station wagons.  I had my Sable at the office, and another person had a Ford Focus on 19th Street.  The group that was traveling with me went with me to my car, and then as it approached 6:00, we were off!  We first went back down to Dupont Circle to pick up the other half of our group.  There, I took my position as the lead car, as one of my passengers was the person who knew where everyone was going, and we returned to Montgomery County via 16th Street.  I’m sure that the people in the second car were wondering what was going on at times, though, as we inadvertently made a few loops in the downtown Silver Spring area, as my navigator got somewhat disoriented due to my approaching the area from the south on 16th Street, which I presume she was not used to.

After our caravan reached its destination, I bid everyone else a good night, and arrived back at my house just as the first rays of morning were making themselves visible.  I was exhausted by the time I got home at 6:30 AM, but the whole thing was very much worth the effort.  We’d stayed out all night, getting our message out, and hopefully making an impact.  Time will tell, I suppose…

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Part 1 – Part 2

Part 2