WASHINGTON (WDVM) — When it became clear that Trump supporters around the country were heading to the District this week to protest the election results, Black Lives Matter DC turned to restaurants and businesses to stop them.
BLM DC says multiple hotels agreed to close down ahead of the protests. The organization is also urging businesses to enforce social distancing and mask-wearing.
Core Organizer Anthony Lorenzo Green says BLM DC struggled to convince the city’s leaders to denounce white supremacy during the last two rallies. This time is a little different, but not good enough.
Signs barring firearms have been posted around Freedom Plaza, Capitol Hill, and the National Mall, but mask-wearing is only encouraged, not strictly enforced.
“Finally we’re seeing more of an effort of officers wearing masks so we’re not surprised that MPD is not interested in enforcing social distance guidelines and making sure people are wearing masks in this city,” Green said. “We want [the protesters] to be treated the same way that any Black person has been treated in this city by the Metropolitan Police Department.”
The community is paying close attention to D.C.’s Black churches, many of which were vandalized during last month’s rallies. Green says there were police officers at the Asbury Church while Proud Boys destroyed Black Lives Matter signs.
“When the sign was torn down by a Proud Boy, [the police] stood there and watched,” Green said. Enrique “Henry” Tarrio, the Proud Boy’s leader, was charged Monday with destroying the sign. “It’s very interesting that now [the police] want to make it clear and have people believe that now they’re going to protect these sacred Black spaces. And that’s what they are to us: they’re sacred Black spaces.”
Green says BLM DC has heard from faith leaders who feel MPD’s “response is not enough.”
“We don’t believe that DC police will keep us safe,” he said. “They never have and never will. However, there are many people in this city who have an expectation that our DC government will conduct themselves in a certain manner any time we’re under threat by white supremacists.”
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