(LAFAYETTE PARK)-A mostly Black group of demonstrators from the Washington
D. C. area turned a Ku Klux Klan rally into a festive occasion on November
27, Thanksgiving weekend. They were joined by thousands of leftists drawn
to D.C. because the Klan had been granted a permit to march by Washington
police and the Interior Department.
People waited along Constitution Ave. in front of the Capitol where the
Klan was supposed to begin their march to the White House. Several thousand
cops in full riot gear, carrying gas masks separated the demonstrators
into two groups. Meanwhile demonstrators had become victims of a police
diversion. The Klan met on the Capitol grounds, but since they kept their
sheets in shopping bags, they were able to slither away under protection
of the pigs.
The cops continued their diversion with a massive presence along Constitution
Ave. even after the Klan had split. The frustration level among people
who had come to "welcome " the Klan surfaced abruptly when the
cops pulled out. The crowd surged after the retreating cops. A brief but
intense shoving match ensued as shouting and laughing people tore snow
fences apart and whaled into the streets.
Across from the White House in Lafayette Park a couple of thousand demonstrators
had gathered. Skirmishes broke-out as police sought to control The
crowd with tear gas. The people answered this act of aggression with a
hail of bricks and bottles.
Horse cops charged after the brick throwers like Custers 7th Cavalry.
At a street corner a block from the White House people regrouped and counterattacked.
More bottles and bricks showered the police who were slowly forced back
towards the White House. The crowd stormed the retreating police line.
Large boards, bricks ripped out of the pavement in Lafayette Park, rocks
and other objects hit the cops and they ran, back towards the White House.
There they regrouped, put on masks and moved in under the cover of heavy
gas. As the gas hit home one protester yelled, "suck it in, the gas
smells good! " The U. S. Park Police did their customary number of
grabbing and beating people as they advanced.
Next rebellion spread from the White House to McPherson Square, where
the crowd, having tasted the gas, re-assembled at a legal
protest. An unmarked police car was overturned and cop vehicles had their
windshields removed with rocks. People took the chance to go "Christmas
shopping" along Vermont Ave. near the park. One demonstrator was
heard yelling "Merry Christmas" as he liberated a bicycle. Cops
slammed another demonstrator through the window at Scholls cafeteria.
Finally the demo thinned out and soon only a handful of liberals from
the All Peoples Congress remained still trying to "cool out"
demonstrators. All in all it was a wonderful event and people left with
a sense of fulfillment that the Klan and their protectors-the cops had
been successfully confronted.
The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan had originally planned to march in D.C.
on Nov. 6th. The Coalition for National Unity Against the Klan planned
a counter-rally. The coalition was formed by groups like All Peoples
Congress, the Communist Workers Party, National Anti 3acist Organizing
Committee, Black policemen from D.C., Black church leaders and the National
Anti-Klan Network. Announcing that they were "afraid of a riot by
Blacks and Communists, " Bill Wilkinsons "Invisible Empire"
faction of the Klan then proceeded to move the, v. 6th Klan event to a
D.C. suburb. A counter-demonstration organized by mainstream religious
groups and liberal politicos was put together in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The Klan held a "support our local police " rally in Woodmere
Park surrounded by a phalanx of pigs, though there was a brief scuffle
between Progressive Labor Party and the cops.