Speaking Out, Washington D.C.
We saw many silent and noisy protest demostrations in Washington D.C. during our visit. A majority of these protests were being held around Capitol Building.
Honestly speaking, we were not expecting it under post 9/11 regime.
None of these came close to what my husband and I had witnessed earlier in June in Toronto. That was by the animal activists protesting over killing of animals for fur. They were totally naked.
Inauguration, 2005 was replete with protests against the guest of honour. That is part of what makes America stand out- that people can speak out to the full and, so long as they don't attempt harm to others, there are no consequences by law. On this day, most only held signs and chanted, but there were a few who stepped over that line and were called to account.
Make no mistake, this is not a political statement, but rather a point of historical fact as things were in January, 2005.
The included photo is of a poster in Adams Morgan announcing a protest march at 9am on inauguration day. Ironically, Joan SeagoingJLW tells me more trouble happened in Adams Morgan (where the included picture was taken) than anywhere else. On further research, I found out police arrested at total of 79 people, including one juvenile. But 72 of those arrests were all around midnight in Adams Morgan. Police say protesters had broken store windows and spray-painted the encircled A - symbol of the anarchist movement on buildings. Most of those arrested were hauled in for parading without a permit, whereupon they were fined and released.
There are pics of specific signs in the upcoming travelogue. Some which I couldn't capture photographically due to the crowds at parade time included, but were not limited to Bush stole another election, 4 more wars, Will write your resignation speech 4 free, last, but certainly not least Thank God for 9/11. I'll let you decide what to think of this.
Washington DC is the capital of one of the most powerful nations in the world. At the moment, not many people are happy with the current way politics are being carried on, and as such, you will find plenty of people speaking out about current events.
Being the Federal City that means the seat of both the federal government and the US Congress, District of Colombia is a favourite place for various protests, rallies and marches for or against something. Well, the USA is a country of both hard (sometimes :-) and fast rules and right, outstanding law. People can speak out to the full and, so long as they don't attempt harm to others, there are no consequences by law. As I know, there is no permission necessary for single, one-person protests, right?
Well, I have seen various less and more strange protesters showing off in front of the Capitol building and the National Air and Space Museum but none in front of the White House where it's forbidden, I guess. Their favourite activity was to pose to cameras of visitors passing by. If I had had a large Virtual Tourist.com banner...
I haven't seen any protesting crowds in D.C. But I've watched them many times on TV news. Well, I guess that these crowds usually know very little about how U.S. system works and those heavy protests are usually instigated by people with an "agenda" and like lambs to the slaughter many follow them mindlessly. "THE POWER" is neither on Capitol Hill nor in the White House. It IS in American voting booths ("We, the people"). Of course, a large, loud and angry protest will get the attention of those employees on Capitol Hill because they simply don’t want to loose their jobs :-). And certainly vast majority of people prefer to watch those loud and angry protests than boring debates in, say Senate commissions, right?
While here in DC for this particular visit, I was surrounded by the early stages of the upcoming peace vigil due to occur that weekend. I was already aware of this event as one of my coworkers was planning to participate.
On the mall, crosses were placed to symbolize a graveyard for the lives lost since the War in Iraq had begun. Empty boots were places nearby to add to the symbolism. Banners were flying, posters were all over town, and a couple of peaceful campers had set up shop outside the White House fence.
Though I am torn on this particular topic, I will say I am proud to be from a country that does allow peaceful dissent. I was also glad I would be otherwise occupied over the weekend during this protest, the world bank protest AND the national booksellers event!
Here is an activity which you are more likely to find here on any given day than anywhere else in America. The right to free speech is part of what makes us what we are--Americans. Of course, the demonstrations tend to be in choice areas such as in front of the White House, the Capitol Building, and the Supreme Court. For the vast majority of the demonstrations, they are orderly and organized. Many people come to Washington specifically for this purpose.
Washington is, after all, the center of American politics. People from all walks of life come here to be seen and be heard--usually relatively peacefully. You may see anything from 1 or 2 people publicizing a personal cause outside the White House, to hundreds or thousands of people marching on the Capitol. Many of the larger groups have special permits, will have alerted the media, and will have pre-arranged arrests for their followers who want to make that sort of statement. These can be fascinating to watch, and if you use common sense you are highly unlikely to be in any danger.
This photo was taken while a small group demonstrated for peace at the Capitol on March 9, 2003. I think there were more police on hand than demonstrators.
There seems always to be some event, rally, protest or political gathering going in Washington DC. Here are Jim and I at the mall near the Capitol several years ago when the entire Aids Quilt was on display. It was a very moving experience to see the entire Mall from the Washington Monument to the Capitol covered with the Names Quilt. This was the last time the Aids Quilt was ever displayed in its entirety due to its immense size.
Why would anyone want to deface my nations capital city? Such a shame. Makes me want to start carrying a can of paint with me and paint over the graffiti! Now, what color paint do the rangers use?