Occupy DC protesters in Washington have grown “increasingly confrontational and violent,” D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said in a statement Monday.
The statement, and a related press conference, came after a series of incidents downtown Friday.
Six people from the Occupy D.C. movement were arrested or ticketed in the chaotic moments after a driver struck protesters in front of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Friday night, police said. In addition to the vehicular incident, people and police have reported shouting and shoving at the site of a dinner held by a conservative group.
“Prior demonstrations had been peaceful,” the statement said. “However, the aggressive nature of Friday’s demonstration prompted the Metropolitan Police Department to adjust tactics as needed to ensure safety.”
Lanier did not detail how she intended to adjust police tactics regarding the protesters. But she said that at least five people were injured Friday, said demonstrators have grown “confrontational and violent toward uninvolved bystanders and motorists” and have “jeopardized the safety of their own children by using them in blockades.”
“The Metropolitan Police Department supports an individual’s right to assemble, we do not condone nor will we tolerate violence or aggression,” Lanier said.
It’s unclear if or how Lanier’s statement might affect the protesters’ ability to maintain their downtown camps. David Schlosser, spokesman for the Park Police — which oversees federal parkland, such as McPherson Square, in the District — said his agency is in contact with the D.C. police.
But “we don’t have any issues with these folks in the areas of D.C. that we patrol,” Schlosser said. “If there’s something that needs to be addressed by us, we will address it.”
Lanier said police continue to investigate what she called an alleged hit-and-run. Anyone with information is asksed to call (202) 727-9099 or 1-888-919-CRIME (1-888-919-2746).
Post staff writer Allison Klein contributed to this report.