After police ceded the stairs, located on the lower west front of the Capitol, the building was locked down, the source added.The officers in charge may have been trying to keep the situation from escalating, but why were no steps taken to stop them from 'exercising their right to commit crime'?
A second source who witnessed the incident said that the police had the crowd stopped at Third Street, but were told to bring the police line in front of the Capitol.
Approximately 300 protesters were allowed to take the steps and began to spray paint "anarchist symbols" and phrase such as "Our capitol building" and "you can’t stop us" around the area, the source said.
Morse responded to these claims in an e-mail Sunday afternoon explaining that the protesters were seeking confrontation with the police.
"While there were minor instances of spray painting of pavement by a splinter group of Anarchists who were seeking a confrontation with the police, their attempts to breach into secure areas and rush the doors of the Capitol were thwarted," Morse said. "The graffiti was easily removed by the dedicated [Architect of the Capitol] staff, some of whom responded on their day off to quickly clean the area."
He added, "It is the USCP's duty and responsibility to protect the Capitol complex, staff and public while allowing the public to exercise their First Amendment rights … at the end of the day, both occurred without injury to protestors or officers."
Since when is criminal behavior classified as free speech? This isn't like the situation last year where USCP improperly removed Cindy Sheehan and the wife of a member of Congress from the gallery because they were wearing slogans on their person. These protesters weren't simply shouting slogans. They were spraypainting and defacing government property. There were clear laws broken (this occurred on federal property). Yet, no one was arrested in the incident.
Amazing. Simply amazing.
Nine others were arrested for unlawful assembly in Washington for gathering and reciting the names of the dead.
Nine anti-war protesters were arrested Monday when they gathered in a House office building to read off the names of American and Iraqi war dead.I think that this is an overreaction and potential infringement of those individual's right to free speech and assembly. This differs from the reaction by the USCP that chose not to arrest those defacing government property - a clear violation of federal law.
U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said the nine were charged with unlawful assembly. Several dozen protesters congregated around a courtyard pool inside the Rayburn House office building, throwing yellow roses onto the ice as they recited the names of Iraq War victims.
The demonstration was a follow-up to Saturday's anti-war demonstration that drew tens of thousands to the Washington Mall.
Also on Monday, about 100 people staged a short demonstration in the Hart Senate office building, with demonstrators waving children's shoes to represent Iraqi children killed in the war and unfurling anti-war banners from the balconies around the building's atrium.
Considering all the issues that the USCP have faced over the past year alone - between the Patrick Kennedy driving incident, Cynthia McKinney's slapfest, and yesterday's graffiti job, it is not out of line to demand that the head of the police force testify as to his department's actions and clarify how and why he acted here, but not where government property was harmed. This isn't merely a judgment call as the police were available and could have arrested the perpetrators in the graffiti incident. They knew that the anarchists would attempt something, and choosing not to act will only embolden those individuals to attempt similar acts elsewhere.
As for the numbers of those who came out to participate in the anti-US demonstrations - and they truly were anti-US, the difference is clear when you actually know who is sponsoring these events and their ultimate goal is the capitulation to those who seek to do the US harm in the long run - socialist groups like ANSWER and Code Pink - were inflated well beyond what they've claimed as well. From roughly 10,000 people who may have attended, we now get tens of thousands.
Further, note that the defacement of federal property wasn't the only crimes committed yesterday. These so called anti-war demonstrators also damaged a Fox News truck covering the demonstrations and also damaged a military recruitment center office. Michelle Malkin has more, including photo caps and links to the damage done to the Fox News truck and military recruitment center.
Others blogging: Slapstick Politics, Ed Driscoll, Ed Morrissey, Sensible Mom, Bill's Bites, Stop the ACLU, Right Wing News, Wake Up America, Redstater, Sister Toldjah, Dan Riehl, GOP and College, Tel Chai Nation, and Amboy Times.