WASHINGTON, D.C. — Blazing sun and high humidity met hundreds of protesters, counter-protesters, neighborhood residents, police officers, and reporters Friday evening at Capitol Hill’s Lincoln Park. The protest, planned Tuesday, hoped to tear the monument of Abraham Lincoln with one hand on the Emancipation Proclamation freeing a slave, modeled by freedman Archer Alexander. It was paid for by local black residents and black Union veterans and dedicated by Frederick Douglass.
(Protesters, neighbors, reporters, undercover cops and private security gather)
After a Tuesday rally promised to return to tear the statue down on Thursday, Park Police surrounded the monument with fencing re-enforced by Jersey barriers and stood guard night and day. Tension in the usually busy community park had been building since then, broken by short moments of music and happy protest.
(Radicals complaining there is no destruction yet)
The rally began slow, upsetting gathered bicycle Antifa supporters in masks and football helmets with their “centrist liberal bullshit,” but quickly broke into yelling when Don Folden, owner of Capital Buddy Tours took the microphone in his uniform. “Y’all young people don’t know shit!” he hollered into the crowd, beginning what would become a counter-protest within.
(Radicals distribute masks for pepper spray.)
While Black Lives Matters activists tried to chant them down, reenactors dressed as freed slaves of Capitol Hill and Frederick Douglass gave an abridged version of the dedication speech. When the organizer told the crowd that the older generation had failed them and had nothing to teach them, a black man in a “New York City” shirt followed, raising his voice to tell the crowd his great-great-grandfather is that slave (depicted in the memorial), and “this young upstarts” better show some respect for the suffering of their people.
(A reenactor abridges Douglass’s dedication speech.)
“Do you even know the history of that statue?” Folden demanded, holding court after a fiery speech.
(A pro-statue reenactor and an anti-statue protest organizer argue with a radical looking for violence.)
“These people are talking just because we have to respect our seniors,” a teenage, freckled white girl complained to her friends, “which is disgusting.”
(Reenactors wait their turn to speak.)
(A white activist went from police officer to police officer calling them “p*ssies” and “cowards.”)
A Frederick Douglass reenactor speaks to the protest in character.
Freedom Neighborhood founder Glenn Foster calls to tear the statue down after a series of more moderate liberal speeches on compromise.
Elderly freed slave reenactors argue with protesters and radicals.
A Frederick Douglass reenactor delivers a history lesson to protesters and radicals.
The tour guide and reenactor screamed at by a radical hoping for a riot.
As the sun started to set, the crowd grew more agitated while also thinning, with radicals repeatedly trying to set off confrontation.
A car screamed around the corner, crashing into another with the suspect fleeing. Police shut down the block and the motive is unknown. A deranged, older radical blocked a local and his wife’s opened-top convertible, trying to detain them but was shamed and chased off by a neighborhood man.
After sunset, conservative activist Jack Posobiec and a friend were physically attacked. By 8:30 p.m., the crowd had disbursed, marching toward the Capitol, and the Emancipation Memorial stood another day.
(The Emancipation Memorial stood.)