Hell Breaks Loose During May Day Protests

A few weeks ago, hundreds of thousands of people marched in solidarity around the world, protesting workers rights as part of May Day’s annual day of action. More than 100 demonstrators took to the streets in Washington, D.C., veering off a permitted route to spread their message throughout  the northwest section of the city.

Arriving on the 1100 block of Connecticut Avenue NW about 7:30 p.m. after hanging a right on M Street, several marchers spontaneously pivoted toward the Gap clothing store and made a mad dash for the front door. Metropolitan Police Department officers assigned to patrol the march quickly moved in to barricade the door. With protesters inside, and more attempting to gain entrance, police began pushing people away, pulling demonstrators from the store. Some protesters flailed and fought back and what ensued was a virtual brawl.

At least five different scuffles broke out—protesters and police were thrown to the ground, with others were violently screaming at each other. The scene calmed as more police arrived and created a human barrier in front of the clothing store.

Gap is one of several dozen Western retailers that sent representatives to meeting this week in Frankfurt, Germany in response to garment factory conditions in Bangladesh. Last week, a factory there that manufactures clothing for several retailers collapsed, killing more than 400. Gap was not a customer of the destroyed factory, but the disaster has brought into more light the often dismal working conditions in the more than 4,000 clothing factories throughout the South Asian nation.

Two were arrested at the Gap and charged with assault on a police officer, MPD Cmdr. Steven Sund says. A third protester was arrested earlier along the route.

The march continued on to Lafayette Park, where the May Day protesters were met by a group calling itself the White Student Union. A confrontation between the two groups ensued. Uniformed officers of the U.S. Secret Service made one arrest.

Above content is collaborative reporting with DCist. 

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