The Washington Post reported that early Monday morning, DC police cleared Black Lives Matter Plaza of protesters by shoving them into cars, swinging bicycles at them, and deploying a chemical irritant. Some demonstrators said the event had been peaceful until a few water bottles were thrown, which seemed to lead police to deploy the irritant.
When asked about this show of force at a press conference today, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said police were reacting to the “chaos and violence” created by “outside agitators.” These “agitators” came into the city “looking to confront the police this weekend,” she said.
“We don’t know who they are, who funds them, who organizes them, but they came together to create havoc,” Bowser told reporters. “They are not the same as our residents who proudly say ‘Black Lives Matter.’ ”
The mayor said the Metropolitan Police Department continues to have the same charge to “keep DC safe and support peaceful protests.” DC Police Chief Peter Newsham added there were zero arrests associated with Al Sharpton’s Friday March on Washington—the largest protest the city has seen this summer.