The bells announce the hours, but also life and death, and this Mondaybells rang in the deserted streets of Washington.Minutes before the curfew came into effect, brought forward at 7:00 p.m. after the violent disturbances of the previous day, shops and hotels in the center were sheltered with planks to protect their establishments, as if waiting for the passage of a hurricane. But this was going to be a different day.
Riot police, military police, armored cars and even DEA agentsThey had taken the center of the capital with the clear intention of preventing Sunday’s chaos from repeating itself. “We are going to end the riots and anarchy that has spread throughout our country,” he said at the time.Donald trumpfrom the White House. “And we’re going to finish them off now.”
Criticized left and right for the passivity with which he has acted so far, only interrupted to spur social division and threaten protesters on Twitter, the President of the United States threatened todeploy the military if the governors are unable to quell the riots. “This is not an act of protest, it is an act of domestic terrorism,” he said in a brief statement read in front of the cameras, hours after calling the governors “weak”.
“If cities or states refuse to take the necessary actions to defend the lives and property of their residents, I will deploy the US Army to solve the problem soon.” The curfew in the capital, he added, was to be “strictly” applied.
Two blocks away, a police megaphone endorsed the President’s words.“First warning: leave the area or you will be arrested under the curfew”. Natay Smith did not move. “I don’t care if they arrest me. Blacks are people. We believe in the same things as the rest. We are tired of seeing our family and friends die. And the worst thing is that the responsible police officers never have to be held accountable,” 20 year old student. Between 2013 and 2019, only 1% of officers who killed a suspect were prosecuted, according to Mapping Police Violence.
Until then, hundreds of people had protested peacefully in front of the White House,but without warning, the police began firing tear gas and dispersing it with officers on horseback. The reason? Trump was finally emerging from his burrow, two days after having had to shut himself up for almost an hour in the bunker of his residence. Accompanied by a retinue of advisers, he crossed Lafayette Park, cleared minutes earlier to the wild ones, and planted himself in front of the Church of Saint John to take the picture with a Bible in hand, a day after the fire was set on fire. basement.
The coup d’état did not like the bishop of the Episcopal Church of Washington, to which the call belongs“church of the presidents”. “I am outraged,” said the Reverend Mariann Budde. The White House had not warned them of the visit and did not even ask permission to use their Bible. Still less did he expect him to use his church as a pretext to gas protesters. “The Bible declares that God is love. All he has said and has done is inflame violence,” said Budde. “When we need moral leadership, he goes out of his way to divide us.”
In the city centerarrests began. Expeditious and without contemplation, although they hardly met resistance because the bulk of the protesters had fled. Faced with crowds over the weekend, Monday’s protest was small. Robin Riddick, a 58-year-old black nurse, left minutes before the arrests begin. “I don’t endorse vandalism, but I understand people’s anger. Every time I walk into a store they look at me, like I’m a thief. I’m tired of the law being applied differently to blacks and whites. They are 400 years of systemic racism. We need a change, “said Riddick.
As the night wrapped around the capital, a group of about 300 protesters resurfaced away from the White House. And he devoted himself to playing cat and mouse with the police. Some threw stones at shop windows. There were races and more tear gas.
A week after the murder of George Lloyd by the police, protests continue.