Hundreds of Occupy D.C. protesters blocked streets Friday night around the Walter E. Washington Convention Center where a conservative group was holding a dinner.
Three people were injured after apparently being struck by cars, authorities said.
Lt. Christopher Micciche of the D.C. police told the Associated Press that the driver was not cited because he had a green light when his vehicle struck three people.
He said witnesses told police that the three pedestrians “either ran toward or jumped in front of the moving vehicle.” He said one pedestrian jumped on the hood of the car. One of them was cited for being in the roadway.
“The protesters were apparently trying to block the roadway,” Micciche said. “It was essentially an accident where three individuals were injured but they were in violation by being in the roadway.”
About 500 protesters stood in the streets at half a dozen intersections around the building, preventing cars from coming or going.
Several said that their aim was to prevent those inside from leaving.
Jesse Folks, 29, of Riverdale, said he was standing in the street with several dozen protesters near the convention center when the car “just gassed it into a bunch of people.”
When asked whether the protesters should have been standing in the street at all, Folks said, “we were in the street, but this guy didn’t even give us a chance to get out of the way.”
Earlier, however, near the rear of the convention center, another group of protesters stood in front of a chartered bus for more than a half-hour as it tried to leave from the area. The bus kept honking its horn and tried to advance forward, but was repelled by the protesters who refused to yield.
In other areas around the building, some drivers got out of their cars and confronted protesters who refused to move. Other motorists stuck in traffic were more receptive, honking their horns in support of the group.
In addition, it appeared that small fights were breaking between protesters and other people, possibly neighborhood residents.
The event that drew the protesters to the convention center was the Americans for Prosperity “dream summit,” which attracted hundreds of conservative leaders from across the country. On Friday evening the group was holding a dinner in tribute to Ronald Reagan.
An OWS supporter called me a fascist recently. I had to laugh because it reminded me of the Obot trolls three years ago we used to find trapped in the TC spam filter, calling us fascists because we wouldn’t let them take over the blog. They said we were violating their right to free speech.
My freedom of speech doesn’t impose on anyone else a duty to listen, nor does it allow me to prevent them from speaking. My right to peaceably assemble doesn’t allow me to trap people and prevent them from leaving. Nor does it permit me to prevent someone else from operating a business by blocking the entrances. While I have a right to use public space, it is an equal right, meaning I have to share it with everyone else, not commandeer it for my exclusive use.
My rights do not trump your rights. Your rights do not trump mine. Neither of us has unlimited rights. The law defines our rights and the limits thereof. I believe in the rule of law.
Authoritarians think the king is law. OWSers think the mob is king. They are both wrong. As Tom Paine said, “In America, the law is king.”