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March on Crystal City

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6 – Part 7

Part 7

And once again underway, straight through to the end of our march route.  And once again underway, straight through to the end of our march route.

And once again underway, straight through to the end of our march route.

And once again underway, straight through to the end of our march route.  And once again underway, straight through to the end of our march route.

And once again underway, straight through to the end of our march route. 


We knew we had reached the end of the march when we saw ANSWER’s sound truck parked in the street, and when we saw rows of buses lined up beyond that to carry demonstrators back home.  With this wall of vehicles, I don’t think we were going any further.  The march ended up in front of 2345 Crystal Drive, formerly known as Crystal Park 4.  Interestingly enough, this building was very familiar to me, as I attended an American Management Association seminar in that building for work in December 2008.  How strange to be back, and for a protest, no less!

Here, there were police lined up in riot gear.  Additionally, Code Pink was set up in front of the building, near the street, holding at least two banners.


ANSWER's sound truck sits parked in the street, indicating to us that we had reached the end of the march route.

ANSWER’s sound truck sits parked in the street, indicating to us that we had reached the end of the march route.


Bringing the march to its conclusion.  Maddy tires of my filming.


2345 Crystal Drive, where our march ended up, and where I had a work-related seminar last December.

2345 Crystal Drive, where our march ended up, and where I had a work-related seminar last December.


Here is where we also finally ran into Livia, whom we had tried unsuccessfully to guide to the location of our black bloc much earlier in the day.  Having finally finished the march, Livia smiled, and then made a face for the camera.  Here is where we also finally ran into Livia, whom we had tried unsuccessfully to guide to the location of our black bloc much earlier in the day.  Having finally finished the march, Livia smiled, and then made a face for the camera.

Here is where we also finally ran into Livia, whom we had tried unsuccessfully to guide to the location of our black bloc much earlier in the day.  Having finally finished the march, Livia smiled, and then made a face for the camera.


A few people shouted through bullhorns.  A few people shouted through bullhorns.

A few people shouted through bullhorns.


We also spotted two people who we believed to be potential police agents provocateurs.  These two individuals were dressed in something resembling full black bloc, but were behind police lines, where real black bloc demonstrators would be prohibited from going.  Additionally, the gentleman to the right appeared to be listening to something through an earpiece of some sort.  Either way, I think it's highly despicable, and indicates bad faith on the part of the police.  We also spotted two people who we believed to be potential police agents provocateurs.  These two individuals were dressed in something resembling full black bloc, but were behind police lines, where real black bloc demonstrators would be prohibited from going.  Additionally, the gentleman to the right appeared to be listening to something through an earpiece of some sort.  Either way, I think it's highly despicable, and indicates bad faith on the part of the police.

We also spotted two people who we believed to be potential police agents provocateurs.  These two individuals were dressed in something resembling full black bloc, but were behind police lines, where real black bloc demonstrators would be prohibited from going.  Additionally, the gentleman to the right appeared to be listening to something through an earpiece of some sort.  Either way, I think it’s highly despicable, and indicates bad faith on the part of the police.


After having been marching more or less continuously for more than eight miles, the group that had originally gathered for the black bloc leaving from Farragut Square finally got a chance to sit down and chill out for a while.  After having been marching more or less continuously for more than eight miles, the group that had originally gathered for the black bloc leaving from Farragut Square finally got a chance to sit down and chill out for a while.

After having been marching more or less continuously for more than eight miles, the group that had originally gathered for the black bloc leaving from Farragut Square finally got a chance to sit down and chill out for a while.

After having been marching more or less continuously for more than eight miles, the group that had originally gathered for the black bloc leaving from Farragut Square finally got a chance to sit down and chill out for a while.  After having been marching more or less continuously for more than eight miles, the group that had originally gathered for the black bloc leaving from Farragut Square finally got a chance to sit down and chill out for a while.


Looking to see if there was a cause to what felt like a blister on my left foot, I was surprised to see that I had blown out the sole on my left shoe!  That rock I thought I'd picked up earlier must have punched a hole right through the bottom of the shoe.  I admit that these shoes were very well-loved, but I didn't expect to go right through the sole.

Looking to see if there was a cause to what felt like a blister on my left foot, I was surprised to see that I had blown out the sole on my left shoe!  That rock I thought I’d picked up earlier must have punched a hole right through the bottom of the shoe.  I admit that these shoes were very well-loved, but I didn’t expect to go right through the sole.


Photographers were all over, set on capturing the moment for all to see.

Photographers were all over, set on capturing the moment for all to see.


The crowd at the end of the march route in Crystal City.

The crowd at the end of the march route in Crystal City.


Former DAWN activist David Barrows, holding a World Can't Wait sign.

Former DAWN activist David Barrows, holding a World Can’t Wait sign.


Code Pink demonstrators hold up multiple banners.

Code Pink demonstrators hold up multiple banners.


A masked demonstrator poses for a photo in front of the cops.

A masked demonstrator poses for a photo in front of the cops.


Meanwhile, the Virginia State Police (above) and local police (below), in full riot gear, formed a line preventing movement towards the buildings.  And despite my best attempts to get some of them to smile, they maintained their poker faces.  Meanwhile, the Virginia State Police (above) and local police (below), in full riot gear, formed a line preventing movement towards the buildings.  And despite my best attempts to get some of them to smile, they maintained their poker faces.

Meanwhile, the Virginia State Police (above) and local police (below), in full riot gear, formed a line preventing movement towards the buildings.  And despite my best attempts to get some of them to smile, they maintained their poker faces.

Meanwhile, the Virginia State Police (above) and local police (below), in full riot gear, formed a line preventing movement towards the buildings.  And despite my best attempts to get some of them to smile, they maintained their poker faces.  Meanwhile, the Virginia State Police (above) and local police (below), in full riot gear, formed a line preventing movement towards the buildings.  And despite my best attempts to get some of them to smile, they maintained their poker faces.


A masked demonstrator sits on the sidewalk.  The mask hides much of her expression, but one has to wonder what she's thinking about in these photos...  A masked demonstrator sits on the sidewalk.  The mask hides much of her expression, but one has to wonder what she's thinking about in these photos...

A masked demonstrator sits on the sidewalk.  The mask hides much of her expression, but one has to wonder what she’s thinking about in these photos…


Unfortunately, most of us, particularly those of us in the black bloc that met up in Farragut Square at 10:00 that morning, were in no condition to appreciate the activities at the end of the march, let alone participate in them.  It was a quarter past 3:00 PM, meaning that aside from some very brief pauses, we had been on our feet and marching, more or less continuously, for more than four hours, and covered roughly 8¼ miles of ground during that time.  That comes down to 4¾ in our independent black bloc and 3½ with the mainstream march, and all of it on foot.  No wonder we were tired!

After a while, people started to pack it in.  Marchers from out of town were starting to load onto their buses, and those of us who were from the local area were starting to make moves towards the Metro.  I went with Marja, with whom I’d demonstrated in DC before, to an entrance to the Crystal City Underground in order to go back towards the Metro.  Jeff had mentioned that a few people were going to take Metro back to Dupont Circle to finally have that picnic that they tried to have earlier, but we declined.  We were spent.  Once in the Underground (pardon, “Crystal City Shops“), we found a place to sit for a few minutes, coming to rest at a nearby McDonald’s.

There, I finally got to use the restroom and change my shoes.  Unlike most protest marches, I brought an extra pair of shoes with me – my black flip flops – with the intention of changing into them after the march was over.  See, my red Chucks were just about at the end of their useful life.  They had holes in them in various points (including a long tear along the outside edge of the right shoe), the soles were worn smooth, and, as it turned out, the rock I’d possibly caught earlier had punched a hole through the bottom of my left shoe.  I had ordered and received a new pair of green Chucks the week before, and so with those in my possession, the red Chucks had only two uses left in them – Funk the War, and the ANSWER march.  I considered it suitable to do this march in the old shoes, since first of all, a protest march is not the way to break in new shoes.  Secondly, the 2007 Pentagon march was those old shoes’ first protest, and therefore it was somewhat fitting to close the book on these shoes with another Pentagon march.  And with the march now finished, after I peeled the shoes off, I basically chucked the Chucks, right then and there, depositing them in the trash can at the McDonald’s.  Trust me, I was ready to ditch my old Chucks, and the flip flops felt really good by comparison.


Just how worn out were these shoes?  You decide...

Just how worn out were these shoes?  You decide…

Just how worn out were these shoes?  You decide...

Just how worn out were these shoes?  You decide...


After spending a little while cooling off at the McDonald’s, Marja and I continued on our way to the Metro.  Getting up, I commented, “My legs feel like gummy.  Gummy, gummy, gummy.”  Seriously, my legs felt like Jell-O, if such a thing is possible, but somehow I managed to walk again.  On the way, I got to do something I don’t do so much anymore with pictures – I got to be a fire alarm geek, photographing the new fire alarms in the Crystal City Underground.  The old big Edwards pulls and the bells are gone, having been replaced with modern Siemens pulls, and Faraday horns.


No more giant Edwards pull stations and bells in Crystal City, as the system has been replaced by a more modern Siemens system.

No more giant Edwards pull stations and bells in Crystal City, as the system has been replaced by a more modern Siemens system.

No more giant Edwards pull stations and bells in Crystal City, as the system has been replaced by a more modern Siemens system.


When I last came through here in December, this mirror had been flanked by pull stations on both sides, with the Simplex pull on the left as seen here, and a Gamewell "full moon" pull station on the right, presumably because two fire alarm systems were coming together at that location.  Now, however, the Gamewell pull has been removed, and the hole has been plated over.

When I last came through here in December, this mirror had been flanked by pull stations on both sides, with the Simplex pull on the left as seen here, and a Gamewell “full moon” pull station on the right, presumably because two fire alarm systems were coming together at that location.  Now, however, the Gamewell pull has been removed, and the hole has been plated over.


Reaching the Metro, we spotted an advertisement for the Military Officers Association of America.  It seemed that anti-war demonstrators had already gotten their hands on it and altered it to their liking, and the results were kind of lulzy if nothing else.  We were dead tired, and so I think lulz were all we could get out of it at that point.


Metro advertisement for the Military Officers Association of America at Crystal City station, after anti-war protesters had their way with it.

Metro advertisement for the Military Officers Association of America at Crystal City station, after anti-war protesters had their way with it.


And at last, we made it to Crystal City station.  And it’s like I’ve said before – once you go into the Metro, it’s over, and there’s no going back.  Once you catch the train, the protest is over, as you and everyone else dissolve back into the general population once again.  But in completing the protest as our black bloc did, we put a lot of miles on our shoes, we protested capitalismelitism, two wars, and war profiteers, we got our message out to the general public, and we had tremendous fun in doing so.  And when you add the fact that this time around, there were more anti-war protesters and far less counter-protesters, I would say that the tide has turned on this war, as we told President Barack Obama in no uncertain terms to finish what George W. Bush had started, and end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6 – Part 7

Part 7