The puppet artist and the organizer embraced amid the detritus of what they hoped was the beginning of a revolution. There were piles of T-shirts with slogans, pamphlets dense with rhetoric, pizza boxes with grease stains.
"We're on our way out of here," said the artist, K. Ruby, who was heading back to San Francisco. The organizer, Nadine Bloch, who is getting ready to have a baby in Takoma Park, promised to stay in touch by e-mail.
The crusaders for "global justice" whose demonstrations closed much of downtown bid farewell yesterday, but the aftermath of their effort lingered in marathon court sessions, claims of unfair treatment by law enforcement officers and continuing minor disruption of downtown traffic.
After nearly 1,300 arrests by police in the past several days, about 200 demonstrators remained in jail yesterday. Most were refusing to give their names.
About 100 protesters continued to demonstrate outside the D.C. Jail late last night, saying they wouldn't leave until their friends inside were released. No skirmishes were reported, but police were on the scene to keep the peace, said Officer Anthony O'Leary, a police spokesman.
Earlier, a handful of protesters and U.S. marshals scuffled briefly at the doors of Superior Court, interrupting a late-afternoon news conference protesters were staging to call attention to what they said were "absolutely horrifying" incidents of abuse by police or U.S. marshals. They offered few specifics.
Apparently, one protester was denied entry to the courthouse, as dozens of marshals and court security officers guarded the entrance on Indiana Avenue NW.
A shoving match broke out as several protesters leaped on top of their colleague, who had been knocked to the ground. Marshals and court officers used pepper spray and the occasional thump with a short baton to subdue the half-dozen protesters who took part in the fray.
No arrests were made.
"They had pulled our friend into a corner and were clubbing him," said one of the protesters involved, who gave her name only as Amanda. "We jumped on top of him to protect him."
When the rain-soaked news conference resumed, protest organizers said they were planning lawsuits against police and marshals for brutality and wrongful arrest. They cited three cases of ambulances rushing away from police holding areas, taking injured protesters to the hospital for a separated shoulder, hypoglycemia and a contusion.
"We weren't given food or water. We weren't allowed to make a phone call. We were soaking wet and cold. Marshals were yelling things at us, that we had to give our names or we'd go to federal prison with rapists and murderers," said Laura Ennis, from Northampton, Mass., after being held for nearly 18 hours.
Although people were in police custody much of that time, Todd W. Dillard, U.S. marshal for Superior Court, said his agency has no responsibility to provide food for people awaiting arraignment once they are in Superior Court.
"I have not had an incident report from any of my officers [about serious mistreatment of prisoners], nor have I received a complaint from anyone in the public," Dillard said.
The several hundred protesters doubled the daily load of people awaiting arraignment, and a few Superior Court trials were delayed or postponed yesterday as a result, some court clerks said.
Court managers had opened two courtrooms for overnight arraignment sessions Monday, meaning many court officers worked until nearly daybreak to process the arrests. Nearly all of the arrests were on misdemeanor charges, stemming from Monday afternoon's arranged arrests of hundreds of protesters for peacefully crossing police lines. The fine was $50 and could be paid in holding areas without coming to Superior Court.
While the court proceedings crept along, out-of-town demonstrators made their departure and local activists returned to normal life. And they began looking ahead.
"Will I see you in L.A.?" one of the movement's videographers said, giving a farewell hug to Jay Sand, an independent media coordinator. The reference was to the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles beginning Aug. 14. The Republican convention will begin July 31 in Philadelphia.
"The next time we see each other may be Los Angeles, Philadelphia, whatever," Sand said after his friend left.
Planning is already underway for demonstrations at both events, to continue raising concerns about the impact of the global economy on poor countries, on the environment, on jobs and on human rights.
Demonstrators probably won't try to shut down the conventions, as they sought unsuccessfully to close meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Washington, said Han Shan, one of the organizers. The Ruckus Society, a Berkeley, Calif.-based activist group that employs Shan, plans a training camp for activists to prepare for the Democratic convention, he said.
But the plans go beyond the presidential nominating conventions.
"I want to go to Prague," said Bloch, smiling, but she may not have the money or the time--with a new baby--to join the protests that are likely to erupt around annual meetings of the World Bank and IMF scheduled for that city in September.
At the protesters' independent media center, in the Signal 66 art gallery on Blagden Alley in Shaw, videographers were making their final edits and packing up equipment. This was the nerve center for 800 alternative chroniclers covering the demonstrations. On the wall were two huge maps of downtown, with sticky notes marking the pace of action: "17th and I, police are corralling people." "4:25 p.m. near Ellipse, horses stepping on people."
Some of the material was immediately linked to the Web at www.a16.org, while footage also was stored for a documentary of the protests organizers plan to release Friday. "If people think it's propaganda or rhetoric, then it has lost its power," Sand said. "But it doesn't have to be [propaganda], because the truth of it is so powerful."
Over at the protesters' initial headquarters on Florida Avenue NW, puppets and supplies were being packed. The demonstrators were only allowed back inside Monday night, after the demonstrations were over. Police and fire investigators had raided the headquarters Saturday, saying they found fire code violations.
Liz Butler, one of two women arrested during the raid, said the raid confirmed what demonstrators had suspected: "Hippie cops" had infiltrated the group. Several whom Butler recognized as hanging around all week took part in the raid. "They grinned as they pushed me out of the way," she said.
Douglas Jemal, the building owner who donated the space, said he was "shocked" to learn it was the protesters' headquarters. "I thought they wanted a place to make puppets," he said.
But he shared the protesters' suspicion that enforcing the fire code was just a pretext for the police raid.
"They wanted this place closed down," he said. "They didn't want them congregating anywhere. Let's call it for what it is."