On the Ground at the Anti-Inauguration Riots
Before the DC police arrested 230 people, the energy was ecstatic
I woke up on January 20 with little sleep and filled with anxiety. ¶ I made my way to Logan Circle for a 10:00 am anti-capitalist/anti-fascist bloc meetup. I was late but made it just minutes before they started marching. It was beautiful to see. All around me lay a sea of black, moving through the streets of DC. Fireworks went off and radical chants rang. The energy was both calm and ecstatic, joyous yet focused. It didn’t take long before cops appeared and started trailing us, but the march bravely continued.
At first, aside from a few garbage cans being thrown into the street and some light graffiti work, things seemed relaxed. Ahead of me to my left though, I noticed a Starbucks and a Bank of America right next to each other.
“Oh shit it’s a wrap!” I thought and sure enough, the smashing began. The sound of glass shattering was met with loud cheering. For the moment, the bloc was too large and too confident for the authorities to do much, other than admire the thoroughly redecorated establishments left behind.
The crew made its way through the streets, and more commercial property got the same treatment. To my right, I saw the now infamous limousine being smashed up with the two vehicles beside it.
With all this smashy-smashy of corporate property going on, it didn’t take long for the cops to call in more forces.
Being used to the NYPD, I was expecting them to simply outnumber, beat, and arrest everyone. Instead, the DC police sprayed people with pepper spray and shot flashbang grenades into the crowd. The group tried to evade them. Some began to change their clothes in the streets. Everyone ran. Several times I thought I’d fall, but friends grabbed me and we helped each other get away.
Explosions going off all around, the air reeked of the stinging scent of pepper spray. Fate was looking kindly on me and my friends, though. We got separated from everyone else after we ran down the street, and the rest of the black bloc, followed by the cops, ran another way.