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Protests continued in downtown D.C. throughout the weekend following Friday’s March on Washington civil rights rally.
Footage of protesters clashing with police spread on social media and mark a renewed tension between demonstrators and officers after weeks of relative calm. There were reports of fireworks and small fires set in newspaper boxes. The Metropolitan Police Department used chemical irritants, rubber bullets, and flashbangs to disperse the crowds throughout the weekend despite a new law aimed at prohibiting the use of tear gas at First Amendment assemblies.
MPD says multiple officers were injured, including at least one cop who was taken to the hospital with “vision loss” from a laser pointed in his eye, the DC Police Union tweeted over the weekend. During a press conference Monday afternoon, MPD Chief Peter Newsham said 27 people were arrested between Thursday and early Monday morning.
Meanwhile, President Trump continued his attacks on Mayor Muriel Bowser and her handling of the demonstrations. During a post-RNC rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, Trump said Bowser “should be ashamed of herself for that kind of display of incompetence.”
In a tweet Saturday morning, Trump threatened to send federal law enforcement. During a news conference Monday morning, Bowser fired back at the president, saying his tweets are a distraction from his failures of the previous four years.
“We know the president considers himself Mr. Law and Order,” Bowser said. “He’s coming for the wrong team. We are for law and order, too. We’re for D.C. residents living peacefully. We’re for D.C. residents sticking up for neighbors and friends and demanding social justice, but we are for peace.”
Bowser defended MPD’s response and then called on the Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney for D.C. to prosecute “violent agitators.”
“Right now there’s no accountability for the people who came to these protests and attacked our police,” Bowser said. “And we haven’t seen a willingness from the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute them.”
—Mitch Ryals (firstname.lastname@example.org)