Furious fighting as Trumpers try to invade BLM Plaza after "March for Trump"

Video: Overall course of the battle starting mid-afternoon 6 min 53 sec

The 12th of December saw intense fighting all over downtown DC as another "March4 Trump" descended on the city. The Proud Boys and militias were with them, and attempted assaults on BLM Plaza ranged from minor skirmishes to a full-on charge. By evening, police lines intended to prevent fights had the opposite effect as anti-fascists activists found their access to their own side of the battlefield blocked off.

The Trump march as a whole was in town two days prior to the meeting of the Electoral College, which is set to elect Biden by an overwhelming margin based on the popular votes in so many states. The Trump supporters called forth by Trump himself are attempting to pressure or intimidate the Electoral College into tossing out the votes and voting instead to return Trump to office. This would amount to a coup by street-fighting far-rightists if it worked. Among the speakers, Alex Jones gave a speech outside the Supreme Court calling for "revolution" presumably meaning the use of armed force to install Donald Trump as an unelected dictator.

Access to BLM Plaza opened and closed all day and into the evening. In mid-afternoon, small packs of Trumpers and some Proud Boys attempted to enter this space, where they were deemed a violent threat to Black and Brown activists who have held this space and defended the signs on the fence since June. Each pack was driven away. Eventually something caused it to "kick off" resulting in a back-and-forth battle as anti-Fascist protesters and cops alternately charged and pushed each other up and down I street. This then stabilized, and a shield wall of antifascists then departed on a march to McPherson Square, where food was being served to the homeless and security was needed. Not far away, rich Trump supporters were either eating in a hotel restaurant or hanging out there. This led to more protesters abandoning BLM Plaza, a charge across McPherson Square, and a standoff on Vermont Ave with riot cops. Both McPherson Square and BLM Plaza were the scene of confrontations at this time. As day turned to evening, a hotel sidewalk cafe filled with Trump supporters took a direct hit from a very heavy firework.

The McPherson Square standoff was followed by skirmishes on K st and a march north as inbound fascists intent on invading the plaza and BLM Plaza's defenders each attempted to outflank the other and the police lines set up in between. At one point, anti-Fascists realized they had been lured all the way to Thomas Circle, and word got through that only about 35 defenders were left in the plaza itself. Fortunately fascists failed to exploit this, as police would probably have allowed them to take the plaza and then hold it if anti-Fascists were deemed to have left. The recall message went out over the bullhorn, and marchers pushed their way back. Failed police attempts to stop the march and distractions by fascists slowed the return, but they eventually got back to the plaza, which was held the rest of the night.

At this point, fighting began with fascists who were at nearby hotels and again attempted to reach the plaza. At one point, anti-fascists pushing north on 16th st to pre-empt any attack from the hotel just north of K st were suddenly charged by a swirling mix of cops and Proud Boys. One activist was thrown to the ground and stomped, with both Proud Boys and MPD cops kicking her.

Eventually, cops set a "halfway kettle" again allowing people to leave but not enter BLM Plaza. This proved to be a dangerous mistake on their part. Anti-Fascists trying to reach or return to their affinity groups found themselves trapped on the Trump/Proud Boys/Fascist side of the police lines, which was the side facing the outside world. This created dangerous confrontations and the situation escalated even further. Had MPD seriously wanted to keep the peace, they would have denied access by large groups to areas held by their opponents but let individuals reach the anti-fascist side. Instead they seemed to include killing the rally on BLM Plaza by attrition in their list of objectives, and chose a strategy that spread and escalated violence everywhere else.

By the end of the night, two Proud Boys, one antifascist, and according to WTOP Radio one cop had been stabbed and were in the hospital. This took place near Harry's Bar, infamous for hosting fascists every time Trump/MAGAt events come to DC. A photoset of one of the stabbings shows a clear case of self-defense, as one of the Proud Boys grabs a smaller anti-Fascist activist, attempts to tackle them, and gets a steely surprise in the torso for it. Over 30 people were arrested, even a few of the fascists. Because MPD had interfered with fascists plans to storm BLM Plaza, frustrated Proud Boys ended their night by throwing (plastic-looking) beer bottles and cans at police, who returned fire with pepper spray and arrested some of them. Proud Boys run up the "Thin Blue Line" flag and say "back the blue" but they riot and turn on police when asked not to destroy property and assault people. Such hypocrites.

At the conclusion of the battle, the fascists had failed in their goal of taking BLM Plaza. Unable to take the plaza, Proud Boys and fascists ripped down Black Lives Matter flags and banners from nearby social justice churches. The fighting was so intense some have compared it to Charlottesville minus the car attack. Numerical estimates are over 1,000 anti-Fascist and Black Lives Matter activists against what even police chief Newsham estimated as 700 Proud Boys and many more fascists. The "March4Trump" organizers claimed to have 17,000 marchers but mainstream media reported the march was smaller than the Nov 14 "Million MAGA March" which in turn was claimed to have 10,000 participants. Trump of course is a known liar, as are his followers.

There is also the very ugly development that MPD's Lt Bagshaw and Inspector Grover were caught on video fraternizing with Proud Boys:
Still worse, Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio was spotted inside the White House, suggesting he may have been granted a meeting with his presumed commander-in-chief Donald Trump.

Update Mon Dec 14 just after midnight: NY Times reports one person arrested for one of the stabbings, arrestee was still wearing a Proud Boys T-shirt. WTOP Radio reported earlier that two Proud Boys, one anti-Fascist protester, and one cop were stabbed.

Update Mon Dec 14 2AM:In Michigan, the Michigan State House had to be closed due to "credible threats of violence. Michigan's electors (targets of this and related protests) will now stream their votes online.

Smoke on BLM Plaza as attempt by Trumpers to enter BLM Plaza escalates to pitched battle

Cop fires mace as anti-Fascist protesters advance on police line

Anti-Fascists return fire with smoke

Trump flags and MAGA trash burn on or near BLM Plaza

Riot cops guarding Trumpers as they eat across from McPherson Square

Proud Boys near BLM Plaza shortly before the battle described above. This was difficult to film due to violent threats

More Proud Boys on K st as police lines blocked anti-Fascist protesters from returning to their own side(dangerous!)

This MAGAt tried to literally push the Trump flag onto BLM Plaza, was chased away, tripped over a curb, and went down hard.

Fireworks blast on L St (photo by John Zangas)

Antifascist shield wall at lead of a march (photo by John Zangas)

Harry's Bar about 10PM. They had closed early. The stabbings were not far from here

These police blockades denied incoming anti-Fascist and BLM activists access to their own groups, thus forcing them to circle and setting up fights elsewhere in the city

HUNDREDS of Proud Boys gather around Harry's Bar prior to the start of the March4Trump. Still from Alejandro Alvarez video

A MAGAt (and suspected Proud Boys member/wannabe) stomps on one of the defenders of BLM Plaza. The defender was then arrested after having been stomped by what escalated into a mixed crew of Proud Boys and police

Screenshot from video published by Far-right Daily caller (folks behind the failed 2018 grand jury subpeona of an Indymedia journalist) of Proud Boys burning Black Lives Matter banner forcibly stolen from a church. This may cost them a lot of support from evangelicals.

6MWE="Six Million Wasn't Enough" pro-Holocaust shirt worn by a participant in the Trump march (photo by Jayden X)

Creative Commons Licence