Last night as I returned from a conservative happy hour to met up with a friend at the Americans For Prosperity Defending the American Dream Summit I stumbled into the middle of an OccupyDC demonstration. As I came to the top of the escalator at the DC Convention Center Metro station an attempt by OccupyDC to blockade an entrance to the center deteriorated into a violent scuffle. Disturbingly the occupiers had intentionally placed two small children directly in the middle of the entire ordeal.
I was able to capture a good amount of what happened on video but it did take me a minute or two to get my phone out and start filming. The video starts just after the little wagon the children were sitting in had been pushed out of the doorway. I’m sure there is video of the entire incident from the very beginning floating out there somewhere since many of the occupiers were taping the whole thing themselves. However, I did personally see all of the physical confrontation between security and the occupiers.
At the start of the scuffle the protesters had been able to get inside the convention center and set up a makeshift barrier. This barrier consisted of what appeared to be several large wood trash cans from the center, a large metal recycling bin from the center, the two small children sitting in their wagon, and several occupiers either sitting on the floor or standing up.
The security guards, which may have been assisted by police officers (I’m not sure), then began moving the trash cans and forcing back the protesters. At first only about 5 or 6 protesters resisted the security guards while the rest filmed everything but as they forcibly pushed the protesters and the children’s wagon out of the doorway other protesters became incensed. At that point several other occupiers began screaming and pushing back against the security guards.
The children were extremely upset and crying by this point.
That is where my video picks up (language warning):
Here it is from another angle. That’s me in the blue sweatshirt and jeans near the end of the video:
A few minutes after the security guards were able to push the protesters out and most of the protesters had moved on from scene several police officers arrived at the scene. Oddly, though, they were uninterested in hearing what had happened. I offered them the video I had shot but they didn’t want it and didn’t appear to be gathering any information about what went on. They appeared apathetic and merely showing a police presence.
That, in my experience, became standard operating procedure the rest of the night for the police. More on that later…
The children were, thankfully, not hurt. In fact, later in the night I saw them being used to block traffic.
UPDATE: Like I said. The kids were used to block traffic. However, I didn’t know that they had been intentionally placed directly in front of a car. As you can see in this video they clearly were: