A sixth day of protests in Washington began Wednesday with a demonstration at the Capitol, followed by others north of Lafayette Square and outside Trump International Hotel. The crowds converged in the evening near the White House, where police lines kept groups divided into smaller areas.

The protests come after thousands of demonstrators descended on Washington on Tuesday, a day of mostly peaceful protests in the city.

Here are some significant developments:

• Roving, mostly peaceful crowds moved between the White House and the U.S. Capitol building throughout the evening. While tense moments flashed between demonstrators and law enforcement officers in riot gear, no major altercations erupted as the 11 p.m. curfew took effect.

• The U.S. Park Police put two officers on administrative duties as the agency reviews their interaction with Australian reporters who were struck by police in riot gear Monday.

• After two nights with a curfew that began at 7 p.m., D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) announced Wednesday that a curfew will go into effect at 11 p.m. and extend through 6 a.m. Thursday.

• In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is set to announce Thursday that he will remove the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee — a focal point of demonstrations — from its site on Monument Avenue in Richmond and put it into storage, according to an official in his administration.

June 4, 2020 at 1:00 AM EDT

Crowds shrink as protests stretch into Thursday

By 1 a.m. Thursday, the large, peaceful crowds of thousands that had roamed from the U.S. Capitol to the White House protesting systemic racism had largely dispersed.

About 200 marchers continued through the city, playing music as they went, as the sixth night of protests after the death of George Flynn stretched into another day.

Near the White House, a sparse crowd remained — with nearly as many journalists as protesters. A shirtless man held a baseball bat and a campaign sign for D.C. Council member Trayon White. A woman yelled at U.S. Army officers to “Quit your job."

Most of those who remained stood conversing in small groups or sitting on the curb or pavement. One woman shouted, “No justice, no peace” to start a call and response.

But only one woman answered.

By Kyle Swenson, Fredrick Kunkle and Steve Thompson
June 3, 2020 at 11:55 PM EDT

Messages projected on hotel, armored vehicles: ‘Stop killer cops,’ ‘We can’t breathe’:

Around 11:15 p.m. Wednesday, the protest messages started appearing.

Sometimes, the projections were large enough to take up three floors of the Hay-Adams Hotel building. Sometimes, they fit neatly onto the side of an armored vehicle.

The messages rotated as protesters moved around, illuminating the city with the phrases they’d chanted in the streets for days.

“Stop Killer Cops,” read one. “We can’t breathe,” stated another.

On the side of an armored vehicle stationed behind the protective line of the National Guard, another read: “Demilitarize the police.”

As more protesters left the demonstration near the White House, the source of the spotlight became clear: a six-foot tall black projector in the middle of 16th Street and its handler, Philip Ateto, 42.

Ateto said he was part of Backbone Campaign, a nonprofit that engages in “spectacle activism,” in part by projecting messages onto large buildings. In 2018, they conducted a display on the Supreme Court during a hearing on sexual misconduct allegations against Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Ateto said he had initially wanted to project on the White House but had to settle for the buildings along 16th Street NW since law enforcement had pushed back the boundary. The organization usually projects messages through steel stencils but while standing in front of the National Guard, Ateto found a different use for his machine.

“Spotlighting snipers,” he said, chuckling. “Yeah, I’ll have to add that one to our repertoire.”

By Perry Stein, Jessica Contrera, Kyle Swenson and Rebecca Tan
June 3, 2020 at 11:37 PM EDT

As curfew descends, songs, solidarity and a little fear of antifa

The roving, marathon demonstration that crisscrossed the city for hours arrived at the U.S. Capitol just before the 11 p.m. curfew. More than 1,000 energetic demonstrators — diverse and mostly young — gathered around the 44-foot-high white marble Peace Monument and cheered one speaker after another.

“We’re gonna march through these damn streets,” the speaker said, signaling a long night to come. “We’re going to be peaceful. We ain’t going to bring no drama.”

Dozens of protesters climbed atop the monument.

“Anybody got a megaphone?” Romulo Richardson asked.

“We have the people’s microphone,” a woman in the middle of the crowd replied, saying she would repeat his message so those in the back could hear.

“I need everybody to be as quiet as possible, because this is important,” said Richardson, 37, who is black. “They charged the four officers in George Floyd’s murder tonight.”

Protesters in the peaceful crowd, which had knelt several times en route to the Capitol from near the White House, erupted into cheers.

“Y’all made that happen,” said Richardson, of Northwest Washington. “Y’all made them believe us. There is strength in numbers … you’ve got to move as a unit.”

He then urged everyone to turn to their neighbors and exchange social media information, saying they couldn’t make change unless they united.

As the crowd thinned at Lafayette Square near the White House, some officers on the front line appeared to relax. An officer in a helmet and a shoulder patch that read “Special Forces” popped his head out from the second row and struck up a conversation with Joshua Rosen, 27, who was wearing a Jewish Yamuka and Tallit. Eventually, he asked: “Do you think we could see a prayer?”

Rosen nodded, then tried to remember the songs he had learned in his synagogue in Greenbelt, Md. He started with “Shalom Rav,” then sang “Lo Yisa Goy.” He paused when he couldn’t remember the exact line and another member of the crowd chimed in.

The Guardsman watched, his smile widening. “Awesome, awesome,” he said. “Thank you so much for that.”

Not far away, rumors and fear spread that group antifa had arrived. Arianna Evans, 22, spent much of her evening policing the front of the line, asking protesters who wanted to stand chest to chest with the National Guard to step back.

She had thought Wednesday night was the best yet — “We didn’t get shot, so that’s cool,” — but at 10:25 p.m., she heard from multiple people in the crowd that antifa had arrived at the protest.

Now she used her megaphone for a different message: “I’m about to go home because I like my life. antifa is here and they are not … playing.”

All around, heads turned toward her, even in the line of National Guard.

“If you want to be safe,” Evans told a protester, “go home right now.”

There was no way to determine whether antifa was arriving, but no sign that the group was in the area of protests.

By Clarence Williams, Rachel Chason, John Woodrow Cox, Jessica Contrera, Rebecca Tan and Erin Cox
June 3, 2020 at 10:53 PM EDT

Protests shift from peaceful to intense and back again as crowds rove downtown

As time inched closer to the District’s 11 p.m. curfew Wednesday, dozens of protesters were breaking away from the main demonstration near the White House. A lone voice bellowed at the police barricade at McPherson Square.

“The military does not need to be here!” a young black woman shouted to the line of police officers just feet away. She gestured down Vermont Avenue NW, where all afternoon officers in military-style gear had gathered and waited.

“The mayor you answer to said they don’t need to be here,” screamed the woman, who declined to give her name or age. “Why [is] the military here to police us? Because I’m loud and black the military needs to be here?”

Her anger and energy attracted more protesters — 50 at least — to gather at her side.

“You all want to change the world? You could have been a teacher!” she yelled.

She then moved to the center of the barricade.

“Put your hand up if any of you all think it was wrong to kill George,” she said.

When the two dozen law enforcement officers failed to acknowledge her plea, the crowd of protesters began shouting.

Then a young man walked up, pushing the barricade. Police — helmets on, shields up — advanced forward.

The crowd, now 60 strong, lurched toward the officers, their hands raised.

“Hands up, don’t shoot!” they chanted.

For a tense moment, both groups seemed not to know what would come next. Then the officers stepped back, sparking cheers from the crowd. The chant changed. “Peaceful protest,” they shouted. “Peaceful protest.”

A block to the west, someone had lit an American flag on fire.

A block south, a line of officers stood face-to-face with protesters. One blared a Martin Luther King Jr. speech in the officers’ faces. Another screamed, “We want to talk to your master,” demanding to speak with President Trump.

The officers stared straight ahead, their shields on the ground, their eyes often looking above the protesters.

A block further west, on 16th Street NW near the White House, a 20-year-old was pacing the line separating protesters from the rows of National Guard members.

“Safe distance, safe distance,” he called as he held his arms out in front of his chest, moving protesters back at least two feet.

Josiah Humphries said he isn’t one of the Black Lives Matter organizers. “I just want to make sure everybody gets out of this alive,” he said.

By Kyle Swenson, Perry Stein, Jessica Contrera and Clarence Williams
June 3, 2020 at 10:09 PM EDT

A protester demanded to know why a black officer wore a badge. He replied passionately and powerfully.

“What are you doing as a police officer?” one woman asked a black, bespectacled U.S. Capitol Police officer Wednesday evening, pointing her finger at him as he stood behind a short metal fence separating a long line of armed officers from more than 300 demonstrators.

“What are you doing as a black man with that badge on? What are you doing to change things?” she asked.

“I realize that [in] police departments across the nation, across the world, there are racists in those police departments,” said the man, whose uniform read R. Watts. He declined to provide his first name.

True change, he insisted, could come only from the inside.

“This country did not want us, but yet there were people who fought anyway. Now we got spaces here,” he continued, pointing over his shoulder at the Capitol building.

“A man just four years ago was in a White House that wasn’t designed for him. You have to start somewhere.”

“You have officers across the country who have never even dealt with black people … so if I quit and then all the police department is white, how does that help?” he asked. “It doesn’t.”

Watts explained that he was the father of four kids — ages 2, 10, 14 and 16 — and that’s why the job he chose, and continued to do, mattered.

“I was black before this,” he said, tugging on his uniform. “When I’m off duty, I’m black. But not only am I black, I’m black with this on my hip with a T-shirt over it.”

He pointed at his gun.

“When I get pulled over and I’m a cop, I have to let that other cop know, ‘Look guys, I have a weapon on me and my wallet’s back here. Is it okay if I reach for it?’ ” he told the protesters. “I say that because I know I’m black. I know I’m black before I’m anything else. And I’m going to be black after this job.”

He told them he wouldn’t say all police were good or that even most were. Some — even many, he understood — were not good people. Until you deal with one, you can’t know.

“But I’m not that, and I have many brothers standing next to me who are not that,” he said. “We understand that nobody should lose their life for a petty crime … You write a bad check, and you’re dead? From a bad check, really?”

Another protester interjected, granting that Watts might be a good officer — but what about all the others who aren’t? What had he done about them?

“If I see it’s wrong, I will speak up, and I do,” he said.

“My heart walks with you guys because I’ve been this,” he said, pinching his skin, “since the day I came out of my mama … I’m proud of each and every one of you guys.”

“Keep marching,” he continued. “Do it for me. Do it because right now I’m here and I can’t do what you’re doing. But understand, my heart is over here with you guys.”

By John Woodrow Cox
June 3, 2020 at 10:01 PM EDT

Biggest crowd of six-day protest creates peaceful atmosphere at White House

As thousands crowded onto streets near the White House, gone was the fear of repeated police aggression that had plagued Tuesday’s demonstrations. On Wednesday, the biggest crowd yet appeared.

The mood was jubilant, with protesters singing and dancing as someone with a loudspeaker played Sam Cook’s “A Change is Gonna Come” and Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.”

One man was dressed in a Batman costume. “I’m here as Batman because you would not listen to me as a black man,” he said. “Batman, people listen to.”

Arianna Evans strode to the heart of the crowd, gripped a microphone and quieted the demonstrators. She swung her long violet braids over her shoulder and warned those eager to loot and destroy to leave.

“We will flush you out,” said Evans, a 24-year-old college student from Maryland. She handed the mic to Kenny Sway, a D.C. musician who asked the crowd to sit cross-legged with their cellphones in the air.

With the sun setting over his shoulder, he launched into a rendition of “Lean On Me,” with thousands of voices joining the chorus.

Protesters had read that the previous night had brought a few arrests. And with the city’s curfew extended to 11 p.m., many felt they could show their support after the sun went down without feeling their safety was at risk.

So many volunteers wove through the crowd passing out water bottles, snacks and hand sanitizer that the most common response they heard was “No, thank you.”

A 33-year-old OBGYN nurse joined the protests for the second night in a row after work, still wearing her blue scrubs.

“Tonight it just seems more organized. The momentum and energy is just much more tangible,” she said. “Everybody is seeing how the rest of the world is responding to this, and it’s encouraging us.”

By Jessica Contrera, Antonio Olivo, Hannah Natanson and Rachel Weiner
June 3, 2020 at 9:09 PM EDT

At U.S. Capitol, waves of crowds arrive and disperse

Around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, the latest wave of peaceful demonstrators arrived at the Capitol building, a crowd of roughly 300 taking up vigil. Not long before, a slightly larger group had recently dispersed.

All evening, as protesters crisscrossed the city, the Capitol became a destination to spill out the raw emotion and outrage that has consumed people across the country since George Floyd died in Minneapolis last week after a police officer put a knee to his neck.

Darian Cooper, 27, approached a black police officer guarding the Capitol and, in a rare occurrence during this week of contentious protests, the officer responded.

“I live in Southeast D.C., I have a two-year-old,” the Capitol Police officer said. “I’m in the same position as you.”

Cooper, a Maryland resident, was pleased, feeling like he had an interaction with an officer where they both treated each other as humans.

“When he takes off his uniform, he’s the same as me,” Cooper said, touching his own arm.

An hour earlier, a crowd of more than 400 demonstrators arrived at the Capitol to the chant of “hey-hey-ho-ho, these racist cops have to go.”

And as they shouted, dozens of Capitol Police officers descended the steps and approached. In total, more than 100 lined up, all of them wearing masks, all of them armed.

Seun Babalola, one of the group’s organizers, stepped up onto the stone wall that separated the police from the people who followed him.

“I’m unarmed, by the way,” he said into a megaphone, looking over his shoulder at the officers, before returning his attention to the demonstrators.

“Can I see the hands?” he said, and everyone raised their hands.

Babalola turned again to the police.

“I don’t want one white cop to take a knee to put a picture on Twitter,” he shouted. “I don’t give a damn if a white cop takes a knee.”

He asked the demonstrators to take a seat and they did, many kneeling in the lush green grass that surrounds the Capitol. Babalola then began to read name after name of black men and women who had been killed by police. The crowd listened in silence.

Suddenly, a police radio crackled, interrupting the reading.

“Turn that radio down,” Babalola responded, indignant. “Are y’all serious right now?”

“You would have done it for the national anthem!” a woman yelled at the officer with the radio, who ignored their plea.” That’s exactly why we’re here,” another woman yelled.

By John Woodrow Cox, Perry Stein and Erin Cox
June 3, 2020 at 8:41 PM EDT

New officers file behind front line as crowd holds moment of silence

Squeezed by barricades and law enforcement, protesters congregated at 16th Street NW on Wednesday, forming rows that spanned at least two blocks.

A little after 7:30 p.m., as the searing heat finally eased away, an African American woman in red dreadlocks called for a moment of silence over a loudspeaker. Row by row, the crowd fell to their knees. The yelling and chanting stopped; signs were lowered. A quiet fell over the thousand-plus protesters.

The woman in red dreads started speaking, then paused, choking up. The crowd waited.

“Take your time, sister!”

“I have a brother . . . and I want to see him to go to college, to come home without being shot,” she said. “I want that for him.”

“Half of you here understand what it’s like to be African American in America,” she said, her voice rising. “It is a heavy, heavy burden.”

As she spoke, about 50 officers in Army uniforms filed into the space behind the front line.

By Rebecca Tan
June 3, 2020 at 8:27 PM EDT

Organizers’ goal: Remain peaceful, keep marching

Seun Babalola, a 22-year-old organizer in the Washington region, noticed that the protests in recent days were disorganized and meandering. So he and two other activists in the city — including a Parkland survivor and a young woman involved in local D.C. politics — decided to form “Concerned Citizens.”

The group decided to organize a rally on Wednesday, taking hundreds of protesters on marches across the city. Along the way, black protesters are giving long speeches about racism, their personal challenges, and why they are protesting.

“We said we are going to make a lot of these marches something people can believe in,” he said. He said the goal is to remain peaceful and keep marching.

“If it takes 40 minutes to march to the Capitol, that’s OK,” he said.

By Perry Stein
June 3, 2020 at 8:10 PM EDT

‘I can’t breathe’: Protesters chant as thousands converge near White House

Several crowds — collectively numbering in the thousands — converged near the White House around 8 p.m., splintered by police lines into at least three locations north of Lafayette Square, the center of protests in the District for six days.

One group of marchers had moved from the White House along Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol and back again, chanting in the blistering evening heat. Others crisscrossed downtown, traversing McPherson Square as their circuitous route led them back toward President Trump’s residence.

Police on Wednesday shifted their tactics to divide the groups into smaller areas. Gone was the 8-foot tall chain-link fence that created distance between the throngs of people and law enforcement from an array of federal agencies. Instead, protesters could come face to face with officers.

A large group of more than 1,000 knelt in unison at 16th and I streets NW. The crowds ebbed and flowed, leaving and returning.

As one group of marchers wound back toward the White House, thousands collected at 13th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, steps from the Trump International Hotel, which was heavily guarded and had a few broken windows on the first floor.

“Sit, knee, whatever you want,” an organizer said through a megaphone. “I just need you too get down like George Floyd. We’re lying down for eight minutes to honor his memory."

For a minute, the thousands were silent as radio on nearby police officers squawked and a jogger caught in the moment awkwardly tried to step through the prone bodies.

“They need to hear us!” someone shouted, breaking the silence.

A chant of “I can’t breathe” built through the crowd until everyone was chanting. The voices continued for eight minutes.

By Kyle Swenson, Rebecca Tan, Hannah Natanson and Erin Cox
June 3, 2020 at 8:08 PM EDT

Protesters nervous, frustrated and closer to police than in previous days

Throngs of protesters confronted police at unusually close quarters near the White House and at the Capitol on Wednesday, as no physical barriers separated the crowds from law enforcement.

The mostly peaceful protests on Tuesday unfolded under different conditions. Near the White House, the U.S. Park Police had erected an eight-foot fence at the edge of Lafayette Square, putting a barrier and at least 100 feet between the protesters and police.

On Wednesday, it was gone. There was nothing to separate them.

“Are the guns coming out?” Telia Conway’s friend asked her just before 6 p.m. as the group eyed the officers in camouflage feet from them. “Someone said they saw tear gas.”

“I’m nervous,” said Conway, 22, swim goggles around her neck.

“I don’t think they are being logical,” said Conway, who is black. “What is tear gas going to do except make us angrier?”

Nearby, 21-year-old Angelique Medley was in the front row of protesters, shouting “This has to stop! Medley said none of the officers — who were from several different federal agencies — replied.

“I came for my dad, a black man who lived through the civil rights era,” she said. “He taught me to challenge authority, except his.”

An hour before curfew, a friend wearing a gas mask arrived to tell her he saw buses arriving and was worried about arrests.

“Let’s go,” she agreed.

By Rachel Chason and Antonio Olivo
June 3, 2020 at 7:32 PM EDT

At the Capitol, a 10-year-old confronts police

A lone police officer stood at the top of the Capitol steps Wednesday evening, taking in the scene below: hundreds of people spread out across the lawn and around the reflecting pool, settling in for another night of chanting, hydrating and chanting some more. The crowd, which grew and shrank multiple times throughout the day, faced a line of Capitol Police officers who formed a perimeter on the base of the stairs.

Unlike at the White House, where rows of barricades and law enforcement blocked demonstrators from coming anywhere near the symbol they wanted to protest, the front lines here could stand 30 yards from the marble steps, and eye-to-eye with officers.

Just before 6:30 p.m., cries of “Let her through!” rippled through the crowd. The masses parted, and a 10-year-old black girl wearing pink sequined cat ears stepped forward.

At the top of her voice, Jalena Lisenby told the officers about her anger, her fear, her questions.

“Too many of my brothers and sisters have died,” she yelled. “I’m only 10 and I am already sick of it.”

She pointed to her 12-year-old brother Jamari, who had “Black lives matter” written across his N95 face mask.

“Every day I wonder if my brother or my dad or my mom is going to die,” she cried.

Cheers of “Tell 'em baby girl!” And “You got the answers!” urged her on.

When she finished, adults came to shake her hand. She tucked her handmade sign, on which she had written “I can’t breathe” over and over along the edges, beneath her arm and told them, “Thank you.”

Her father pulled her in for a hug. Her mother smiled behind her mask.

“Mom,” Jalena said when the crowd around her dispersed. “Can I go get a Gatorade?

By Jessica Contrera
June 3, 2020 at 6:59 PM EDT

Two Park Police officers taken out of field after being accused of assaulting Australian reporters

The U.S. Park Police put two officers on administrative duties as the agency reviews their interaction with Australian reporters, acting chief Gregory T. Monahan said in a statement Wednesday evening.

The two reporters from 7News Australia were live on air Monday when they were struck by police in riot gear at a protest near the White House, prompting Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to request an investigation.

Monahan said the officers’ reassignment “is consistent with our established practices and procedures” and will be in place “while an investigation takes place regarding the incident with the Australian Press.”

The altercation happened about 6:30 p.m. Monday as police began forcefully removing protesters from Lafayette Square with pepper bullets, rubber bullets and batons to clear the way for President Trump’s photo op at St. John’s Episcopal Church.

As a line of police pushed forward, an officer struck 7News Australia cameraman Tim Myers with a shield and appeared to hit him in the face. Reporter Amelia Brace was struck with a baton while fleeing, 7News reported.

“You heard us yelling there that we were media, but they don’t care. They’re being indiscriminate at the moment,” Brace said on air moments later. After running to safety, she added: “And you saw how they dealt with my cameraman there, quite violent, and they do not care who they’re targeting.”

Anthony Albanese, a member of Parliament and leader of the Australian Labor Party, said the reporters “effectively have been assaulted — that’s what it is — for doing their job,” ABC reported. “The violence that has occurred towards members of the media, Australian media and domestic media as well, with tear gas being fired, with media being assaulted, is completely unacceptable,” he said.

By Erin Cox and Meagan Flynn
June 3, 2020 at 6:39 PM EDT

Protesters find D.C. landmarks surrounded by federal forces

On the sixth day of protests Wednesday, Asia Horne and Haley Mahon walked into an unrecognizable version of downtown Washington.

Police and military personnel seemed to walk on every sidewalk, block every road, bar every intersection.

On Monday, the chanting American University students had been able to press up against the edges of Lafayette Square, with the familiar columns of the White House in sight. Two days later, they could hardly see it, the view blocked by rows of military vehicles and lines of law enforcement officers with riot shields.

Later, Horne and Mahon tried to march with hundreds of others to the Lincoln Memorial — only to realize that it, too, had been converted into something akin to a military fortress, guarded by immense ranks of law enforcement.

“I’ve only lived here three years, but I did think the nation’s capital was supposed to be more open,” said Mahon, 21. “These national landmarks are supposed to be open to the people.”

“I think he just wants to hide in his bunker,” Horne, 20, said of President Trump. “I think he’s scared.”

Horne and Mahon know the increased federal presence has left some of their fellow protesters feeling scared, too, especially those who are black like them. It is not easy to walk past officers as a black person in America, Mahon said.

But if anything, they’re feeling more determined.

“It’s limiting in one way,” Mahon said of their ever-shrinking ability to traverse Washington. “But it also makes me want to be here a little bit more.”

By Hannah Natanson
June 3, 2020 at 6:26 PM EDT

Capitol Hill braces for protests

With previous nights’ demonstrations mostly centered at the White House, the usually tourist-filled streets of Capitol Hill and the neighborhood around it have been spared from damage.

But with even more closures near Lafayette Square downtown, protesters gravitated to the front door of Congress to make their voices heard. Businesses along Pennsylvania Avenue protected their windows with plywood, and armored vehicles rumbled down East Capitol Street.

No barricades or increased police presence could be seen surrounding the Supreme Court or the Library of Congress. On the east side of the Capitol, dozens of Capitol Police officers created a human perimeter behind one made of metal barricades. They sweated in the heat and reminded each other to hydrate.

“You know, if the same protesters have been out all week, they’ve got to be tired,” one officer told another. “At some point, they’re going to be worn out.”

By Jessica Contrera
June 3, 2020 at 6:16 PM EDT

Army reverses plan to start sending home soldiers from D.C. region after White House meeting

The Army was making plans to send home active-duty soldiers who were dispatched to the Washington, D.C., area to bolster security amid unrest, but the plan was reversed on Wednesday after a meeting at the White House involving the defense secretary, defense officials said.

The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed an account that Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy gave to the Associated Press. McCarthy said in an interview that the Army was planning to send home a “couple hundred” of the 1,400 troops the Trump administration has sent to the region.

The meeting occurred after Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said in a news conference on Wednesday that he did not support the use of the Insurrection Act to respond to unrest caused by the death of George Floyd. The law permits President Trump to use active-duty troops on American streets to bolster security.

Esper has advocated using the National Guard under the control of state officials instead.

By Dan Lamothe and Missy Ryan
June 3, 2020 at 5:55 PM EDT

Virginia governor to announce plans to remove Richmond’s iconic statue of Robert E. Lee

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) plans to announce Thursday that he will remove the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from its site on Monument Avenue and put it into storage, according to an official in his administration.

The towering statue has become the focal point of demonstrations in Richmond against racism and police violence, touched off by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plan has not yet been announced, confirmed a report from the Associated Press that Northam will discuss the removal Thursday morning.

In Richmond this evening, screams of support for the measure were heard during a protest of the Floyd killing.

By Gregory S. Schneider
June 3, 2020 at 5:44 PM EDT

A positive encounter with a D.C. officer: ‘I won’t say all cops are bad’

In contrast to the line of silent military police and prison guards in riot gear, a handful of D.C. police officers in normal uniforms with their names visible stood at the corner of 16th and I streets chatting with protesters.

One white male officer, A.T. Walsh, after a moment’s hesitation, shared a fist-bump with a gloved black woman. He had a conversation with two protesters, one white and one black, about how the Capital Pride Parade will happen during the pandemic.

Although they didn’t know Walsh, they said, he is with a group of officers familiar and trusted to them — the LGBTQ liaison unit.

“He looked like he was dying” of heat, said Trayvon Douglas, 27. So he offered Walsh some water. The officer declined but accepted some fanning with the orange and black fan that Douglas carried. Douglas wore a purple shirt that read, “Love is Love”; his friend Corey Fischer, 29, wore a blue shirt with a metal dog collar.

Neither were naive about police; Douglas, who is black, said, “I’ve seen a lot of brutality — how they trapped people on Swann Street. … I’m in danger if I stay out” past curfew. But as for the LGBTQ liaison group — “they’re great,” Douglas said.

They came out for the first time today and planned to leave well before then. But, Douglas said, “I won’t say all cops are bad.”

“With the lack of leadership, they don’t know how to do it right,” Fischer said.

By Rachel Weiner
June 3, 2020 at 5:21 PM EDT

Maryland governor praises Baltimore’s protest response

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Wednesday that the “senseless murder of George Floyd … served as yet another reminder that we still have a long way to go to live up to our nation’s highest ideals.”

“This was a murderer in a police uniform,” he said. “Police officers need to be held accountable like everybody else.”

Asked whether force should be used to clear peaceful protesters — a reference to President Trump’s visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church near Lafayette Square on Monday — Hogan said, “It’s certainly the opposite of the approach we have taken.”

In contrast, he praised relatively peaceful protests in Baltimore this week, where he said police worked with protesters to ensure safety. Baltimore was plagued by unrest in 2015 after Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black resident, died of a spinal-cord injury after police arrested him and transported him in a van.

“I am incredibly proud that, during this difficult time, the people of Baltimore City have set an example for the rest of America,” he said, adding, “We sort of wrote the book on how to deal with these things in 2015.”

Hogan also said he deployed the Maryland National Guard to the District this week after Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper asked for assistance. Guard members were deployed to national monuments Tuesday, including the Lincoln Memorial, Hogan said, and were not involved in altercations with protesters.

Protesters should continue to practice protections against the coronavirus and get tested, he said.

“I would encourage people that, if you were in proximity with a whole lot of people, you should take advantage of that,” Hogan said. “I wouldn’t be hugging grandma until you get that test.”

By Justin Wm. Moyer
June 3, 2020 at 4:56 PM EDT

Hundreds protest and chant outside Trump’s D.C. hotel, blocking intersection

A crowd of about 1,000 protesters marched through downtown Washington about 4 p.m., stopping in front of Trump International Hotel.

They took a knee, blocking the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and 12th Street NW, as they chanted “Black Lives Matter” and hurled expletives. The hotel appeared nearly empty, with a couple of first-floor windows smashed in.

With access to Lafayette Square blocked off, a man who would only identify himself as Mo said it would make sense for the president’s hotel to become the new focal point of demonstrations.

“We need to send a message,” he said, as more people marched up Pennsylvania Avenue, their chants echoing in the distance. “He ain’t hearing us.”

News began to spread among protesters that three police officers in Minneapolis who witnessed the death of George Floyd had been charged.

“Thank God,” one man exclaimed.

Kate Gallagher, who announced the news to people around her, said she was happy to learn about it, but angry that it took so long.

“That’s the problem,” she said. “You shouldn’t have to have pressure from thousands and thousands of people across the country to see what is blatantly clear. There has to be some overhead accountability when there is wrongdoing.”

By Antonio Olivo
June 3, 2020 at 4:42 PM EDT

With military vehicles in place, protesters find less room to protest near White House

A day after officials raised a tall chain-link fence around Lafayette Square, protesters arriving about 4 p.m. Wednesday found themselves pushed almost a full street farther back from the White House.

Law enforcement stationed two large military vehicles across 16th Street, blocking it entirely, and placed several rows of officers in front of those. The officers, wearing green uniforms bearing the insignia “S.O.R.T.,” carried plastic riot shields, had guns holstered at their hips and wore more guns equipped with gas-spraying canisters.

Hundreds of demonstrators had gathered by 4 p.m., with more arriving in a steady trickle. They shook their heads at the officers and chanted, “No justice, no peace!” Many muttered that the military display was an embarrassment to the country.

“It’s incredibly disappointing and un-American,” said Tamon George, 32, a Maryland resident who came out to protest for the second time Wednesday. “I think there’s something metaphorical about the White House hiding behind military vehicles.”

By Hannah Natanson
June 3, 2020 at 4:27 PM EDT

Breakdown of arrests in D.C. show no ties to extremist groups, Justice official says

A Justice Department official gave a breakdown of arrests in the District over four days of protests, and said authorities have not tied any detained individuals to outside or extremist groups.

Federal and D.C. law enforcement officials continue to scour the backgrounds of some individuals, such as non-District residents, and smartphone data, social media accounts and public posts searching for potential patterns or signs of links, acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin of the District of Columbia said Wednesday.

Sherwin cited reports of drop-offs of suspect pallets of bricks, for example, and any correlation with publicly announced “rally points” and times by extremist groups.

“We see those bread crumbs, and that’s what we’re trying to connect and verify,” he said. “That could give us a mosaic to see if there is a coordinated command and control.”

Since Friday, Sherwin added, D.C. police arrested more than 300 people for municipal curfew violations and turned them over to the local D.C. attorney general’s office.

D.C. police and federal authorities arrested another 101 people, charging about 72 with assault, battery, property damage and other related local crimes. One person faces a federal charge for allegedly breaking into a bank in an unsuccessful attempt to rob an ATM.

Authorities dropped 22 cases for vagueness. Eight investigations into damaging federal property — ranging from destroying a police car to defacing part of the Lincoln Memorial — remain open.

More than 92 federal security personnel were injured — at least 50 Park Police and 30 Secret Service officers and 12 National Guard members — with more than 10 taken to hospitals, generally for concussion-like symptoms after being struck in the head.

Sherwin noted a “significant decrease in violence, especially overnight,” attributing the improvement since Friday to stronger coordination among federal agencies and the District and deployment of more than 1,200 D.C. National Guard members, rather than protesters’ actions.

But in other ways, the actions by Justice Department authorities in the capital marked an implicit rejection of President Trump’s rhetoric, in which he has demanded state local officials “dominate” and put down the protest movement.

“You have to arrest people and you have to try people. And they have to go to jail for long periods of time,” the president said Monday. “If people are running amok, you have to dominate. If you aren’t dominating, you’re wasting your time. … It’s a movement. If you don’t put it down, it will get worse and worse.”

“No one [is being prosecuted for] rioting, this blanket provision,” Sherwin said. “We did not authorize any of those individuals to be charged with rioting. I think that’s a very gray area, a very dangerous area that bleeds into protesting, and what is First Amendment [protected] and what is not.”

This post was updated at 7 p.m.

By Spencer Hsu
June 3, 2020 at 4:16 PM EDT

A reckoning with racism in Richmond

Hundreds of protesters gathered Wednesday afternoon at the foot of the Robert E. Lee statue on Richmond’s Monument Avenue, where the commemoration of Confederate leaders has long drawn protesters.

One of the first speakers was a white man, Ty Fogg, 56, who spoke nervously, admitting to the crowd that he had never considered himself a racist but also never thought much about racial injustice — although his eyes were opened by recent protests.

“I’m like Windows 98, and I’m about 12 upgrades behind,” he said. A lifelong Richmonder who used to toss Frisbees through the legs of the bronze monument horses, he said in high school his best friend was black, yet he gave no thought to the school mascot, a rebel soldier, and sang the school song, “Dixie.”

“I still listen to the Bee Gees,” he said later. “But I’m trying.”

Several other speakers slammed Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney (D), who had marched with them the night before and apologized for the police who gassed nonviolent protesters Monday night.

“Where is our mayor?” cried one woman, who accused Stoney of using the demonstrators as “a photo op” Monday. “We’re all out here, and he’s in his [expletive] house, shaking!” She urged people to call the local prosecutor’s office to demand that charges be dropped against more than 230 demonstrators arrested over the weekend, giving out the phone number. “Blow that number up!” she said.

Across town, at the gates of the state Capitol, Justice Peebles, 23, urged the crowd to sit in the shade and drink water to recover from the 90-degree heat. The crowd had swelled so that it filled a full block of Ninth street.

Peebles, who runs an education nonprofit organization, said the marches would continue for 381 days, the length on the bus boycott led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“381! 381!” he called. “We’re here, and we’re here to stay!”

By Laura Vozzella
June 3, 2020 at 3:57 PM EDT

Chef José Andrés hands out water, sandwiches to protesters near White House

Celebrity chef and activist José Andrés handed out water and sandwiches to marchers on Wednesday near the White House.

“Cheese Sandwich?” He asked as people walked by, sharing thin baguettes and cold water out of a Jaleo bag.

“I am a bad thrower and you are a worse catcher,” he told one protester who dropped his water bottle on the ground.

His “World Central Kitchen” Jeep was parked behind him.

One woman stopped and identified herself as an employee of Andrés’s restaurant Oyamel and said she appreciated seeing him out.

“Call it a pandemic, call it a protest, we are out,” he said. “I don’t want to take business away from anyone but as you can see there are not a lot of businesses open.”

He said he didn’t want to take attention away from protesters but that he was glad to see protesters come to the White House.

“It’s the right thing to do,” he said. “When is the moment where we’re going to say ‘no more?’ … Why so much lack of empathy?”

“Hola,” people replied, and, “Thank you, chef.”

“When the empathy is not flowing from the White House, you’re not going to have empathy anywhere else,” he said. “If we’re silent, we’re responsible. So we can’t be silent.”

By Rachel Weiner
June 3, 2020 at 3:17 PM EDT

Channel energy for change to black neighborhoods, speakers urge

The scene outside the Capitol was relaxed, with music and a mixed-race crowd applauding speeches about channeling the energy from the protests into positive change for African American neighborhoods.

No one chanted. One speaker talked about the unsolved murders in Southeast Washington and, to him, the city’s seeming indifference about them.

“There are black boys and black girls still missing,” the speaker, who is African American, said to the crowd, some who held aloft “Black Lives Matter” or “I can’t breathe” signs.

“It’s good to stand here for George Floyd, but stand out here for Ray-Ray, too,” he said, adding that some of those murders were due to black-on-black violence. “Black people; check your people in the neighborhood.”

Aerica Shimizu, 32, interrupted that speech, arguing that that viewpoint is shallow.

“The issue is poverty, the issue is access to resources, the issue is equal protection” under the law, said Shimizu, drawing a round of cheers.

“To blame black people is a way to continue their oppression and discrimination,” Shimuzu, who lives in D.C.’s Anacostia neighborhood, later said. “I support black entrepreneurs.”

Ben Bullock nodded in agreement, being one such businessman. He was selling “I can’t breathe” face masks for $15, and getting plenty of customers. Bullock, who also lives in Southeast Washington, was part of the crowd outside the White House on Monday who had been gassed and forced to move to clear the way for President Trump’s photo op in front of St. John’s Church.

“The violence from the past few days was painful to see,” said Bullock, a retired corrections officer. “Until we hit the powers that be financially, that will get their attention. We need to boycott their businesses, and support our own businesses.”

With that, he turned to his next customer.

Crystina Darden, 30, hadn’t been to any protests this week.

“I’m still really concerned about the pandemic spread,” she said, keeping a blue mask on her face and staying at the outer edge of the crowd of hundreds outside the east front of the Capitol. She had been staying inside as much as possible for weeks so that she didn’t put herself or her mom at home in Southeast Washington at any more risk.

But a friend had told her there was a sit-in at the Capitol, just a couple of blocks from her job at a tax-compliance consulting firm that works with nonprofits and political campaigns, and she had to pass by anyway. Once there, she was impressed by how careful people were being, with many keeping masks on despite the heat and spacing themselves apart, trying to keep the protest calm, keep everyone safe.

“I’m happy that people are finally starting to speak out like this,” Darden said, adjusting the scarf tied over her long braids. “This sustained protesting is great. It’s not just George Floyd, or Breonna Taylor, or Ahmaud Arbery — that’s just the tip of the iceberg."

The U.S. government abandoned everyone in the covid-19 pandemic, she said, and now they’re pushing to open up the states too soon. “I’m angry at the deaths of black people,” she said. “I’m also really angry about my friends working at Trader Joe’s and nursing homes” having to put themselves at risk. “I’m furious for my friends that have gotten furloughed, and just — left to the wolves.”

After living in Washington her whole life, she can’t afford rent in the city, she said, so she lives in New Carrollton and commutes. “All of our anger is just bubbling up.”

But everyone, she said, “everyone, no matter what color they are, want to know what to do to help.” She suggested a mix of donations to bail funds, mutual-aid funds, and racial-justice organizers.

“If we keep this up,” she said, “I don’t think the government can ignore us.”

By Antonio Olivo and Susan Svrluga
June 3, 2020 at 2:41 PM EDT

Hundreds gather north of Lafayette Square as protest begins near White House

Hundreds of people gathered in the heat at 16th and I streets NW north of the White House on Wednesday afternoon.

Military police and corrections officers in riot gear were holding a line with shields and chemical weapons ready but have used neither. The crowd appeared agitated but peaceful, shouting, “Why are you in riot gear, there’s no riot here” and “No justice, no peace.”

Supporters of the protest handed out water and “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts. The glass fronts of nearby buildings have been covered with plywood. Those buildings include the Motion Picture Association’s Washington office and the high-end restaurant Mirabelle.

At the headquarters of the AFL-CIO, profane graffiti from previous nights had not been fully scrubbed away.

The crowd started marching onto I Street about 2:30 p.m., led by a young black man using a small bullhorn to shout, “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

By Rachel Weiner
June 3, 2020 at 2:35 PM EDT

‘We’re at a turning point in our nation’: Md. Lt. Gov. Rutherford calls for a public reckoning on racism

Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford (R) said Wednesday the “indefensible murder” of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed signaled it is time for the country to examine the racism “that exists just under the surface of many institutions."

“We’re at a turning point in our nation, unlike any of that we’ve experienced — at least in my lifetime,” said Rutherford, 63, who is one of six of black lieutenant governors in the country and the lone Republican.

During his six years in office, the lieutenant governor has been a reserved public figure best known for his wonky “Mundane but Meaningful” YouTube videos exploring state procurement and regulatory overhaul efforts. On Wednesday, he used the most visible post he holds — temporary chairmanship of the state’s spending board — to describe instances of racism he has encountered and to call for a public reckoning of the enduring oppression of black people.

“It’s time for all of us, no matter our race, age, gender or creed, to look deeply within ourselves to acknowledge there’s work to be done,” Rutherford said over a webcast meeting of the Board of Public Works.

He called it “work that must be done so that our nation may finally live up to the ideals of our founding and ensure life and liberty for every American, once and for all.”

Rutherford described growing up under segregation as a young child in Washington — born three years after the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision declared separate was not equal. He recalled being warned to be “extremely careful” about encountering police in neighboring Prince George’s County as a young man, and he described being a college freshman in Boston during the desegregation protests of April 1976. It was during those protests that a photographer snapped the now iconic, Pulitzer-winning photo of a white man lunging toward a black civil rights lawyer, using the tip of flagpole — American flag still attached — as though it were a spear.

Rutherford said he was stunned as a college roommate from Boston explained there were sections of town he should not visit at night because he was a black man. Rutherford transferred from Northeastern University to Howard University the following fall.

He urged today’s demonstrators not to “use this time of pain in our community to spread violence and destruction,” which he said has the effect of “overshadowing the legitimate peaceful protests” of communities that “have for far too long been denied fundamental rights.”

Before joining Republican Larry Hogan’s ticket in 2014, Rutherford had never held elected office. He is considering a bid to succeed Gov. Hogan in 2020.

The lieutenant governor, a lawyer, said Wednesday he considers people in law enforcement, including family members and friends, to be wonderful people. But he added that “there are too many men and woman across the country who look just like me, who instead of feeling protected when they see a law enforcement officer, they feel anxious and in some cases afraid.”

He praised Maryland youths for conducting days of peaceful protests in Baltimore, including people who identified troublemakers and turned them over to police. He encouraged them to continue to “not allow outside agitators to take over or hijack the message that we’re trying to send.”

When he finished, State Treasurer Nancy Kopp (D), 76, who is white, said that she took part in many protests as a young woman 40 or 50 years ago.

But in light of the past week, she said, “I’m embarrassed and ashamed that I didn’t continue doing it.”

By Erin Cox
June 3, 2020 at 2:10 PM EDT

Peaceful scene at U.S. Capitol demonstration

For more than two hours, speakers took turns at the microphone on the east lawn of the U.S. Capitol to exhort the crowd, lead chants, read poetry and sing Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come,” “We Are the World” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

They called out the police standing in front of them for unequal treatment and violent tactics: “You all took an oath to protect and serve. Y’all ain’t protecting nobody!”

They celebrated their free speech: “This is the most American I’ve ever felt.” They pushed for white people to offer more support and wondered aloud why “it’s okay for us to be your football players, but it’s not okay for us to jog?”

Volunteers walked through the crowd offering bottled water, Fig Newtons and Cheez-Its; others carried plastic bags to collect trash.

Hundreds held signs reading “Black Lives Matter” and “It is right to rebel” and “No you can’t touch my hair.”

There was laughter and tears and hugs and applause.

“To everyone here supporting us, we love you,” one man said. “I’m tired of seeing these protests and demonstrations fail.”

By Joe Heim
June 3, 2020 at 2:09 PM EDT

On the edge of the D.C. protests: These people hand out water, masks and pizza

As thousands gathered outside Lafayette Square next to the White House on Tuesday afternoon, kneeling and chanting against police brutality, others set up camp on the outer rim of the masses with packs of water, boxes of pizza and free hand sanitizer for anyone to have.

Tuesday marked the fifth day of nationwide demonstrations after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody on Memorial Day. For all the signs and marches, there are also those who chose to instead support peaceful protesters on the front line, especially since so many storefronts around downtown Washington are boarded up — making it hard to find a bottle of water or something to eat.

When Victoria Paris came to Lafayette Square on Sunday, on the third day of protests in the nation’s capital, she forgot to bring her own sign. It was the first time Paris, 22, had ever participated in a protest but said she had to come to speak out against police brutality. It’s been an issue for far too long, Paris added.

Then on Tuesday afternoon, as crowds started to gather between the square and St. John’s Episcopal Church, Paris came again from her home in Southeast Washington with her 2-year-old daughter, Olivia, her sister, a friend and enough supplies to make 50 signs. She bought the materials at the craft store Michael’s.

By Teddy Amenabar
June 3, 2020 at 1:55 PM EDT

Police made few arrests of demonstrators overnight, saying protests were mostly peaceful

Police say they made few arrests Tuesday night because demonstrations were peaceful, even if curfew was broken.

The District’s mayor and police chief said officers made just 19 arrests during demonstrations Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. In contrast to previous nights marred by looting, attacks on officers and fires being set, District officials said demonstrations Tuesday were overwhelmingly peaceful.

Police arrested 19 people Saturday, 92 Sunday and 288 Monday, the day federal officers forcefully cleared Lafayette Square in front of the White House.

While authorities appeared tense and confrontational earlier in the week, police were far more relaxed Tuesday night. D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham also said there was a great deal of self-policing on the part of demonstrators to tamp violence down.

As a result, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) moved the 7 p.m. curfew to 11 p.m. starting Wednesday night.

Newsham and Bowser said D.C. police avoided making large-scale curfew arrests Tuesday night into Wednesday even though hundreds if not thousands of demonstrators were on the streets. They estimated that there were up to 5,000 demonstrators in the District.

Bowser described the curfew as a “tool” for police to manage crowds but said it would not be enforced on peaceful demonstrators.

“We have allowed peaceful demonstrations every night,” the mayor said. “What we are concerned about are people who are not peaceful and destroying our city.” She said the curfew is to help police “find and detain those people.”

Newsham added, “The curfew is very effective in ramping down the violence.”

He said there were “large groups clearly peacefully protesting. Those groups are going to be allowed to peacefully protest. If there are any indicators within a group that we believe may have increasing volatility … then I think it is our responsibility to ensure that that group’s behavior is stopped.”

By Peter Hermann
June 3, 2020 at 1:08 PM EDT

D.C. mayor raises concerns about expansion of outside law enforcement in city

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) on Wednesday raised concerns about the expanding law enforcement footprint in the District amid days of large demonstrations, saying that “we should all be concerned about who is giving the orders."

Over the past few days, numerous federal police agencies and National Guard members from various states have deployed around the city. Federal officers have expanded a White House perimeter as far north as H Street NW.

D.C. police chief Peter Newsham, speaking at a news conference, said he was not given advance notice of the operations. Bowser said city officials are trying to determine if that action and others are legal.

The Justice Department has listed several federal law enforcement agencies that are operating in the District, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection, but the same statement made a vague reference to “others” that were not identified.

Bowser said Wednesday the city has no complete list of the agencies exercising law enforcement powers.

“I’m not sure we are keeping a list,” she said. “But the feds are. They are under their control, not ours.”

Bowser and Newsham also criticized the deployment of a helicopter, normally designated for use in medical evacuations, that hovered over protesters Monday night and sent shards of glass and debris flying.

“It was a potentially very dangerous scare tactic that was meant to intimidate D.C. residents,” Bowser said. “It is wholly inappropriate in urban settings."

Newsham called the helicopter a “federal resource.”

By Peter Hermann and Emily Davies
June 3, 2020 at 1:04 PM EDT

‘We will not go away:' Protesters march on U.S. Capitol

People lay facedown near ornate fountains on the East Front of the Capitol on Wednesday, hands held behind their backs as though cuffed. The crowd of hundreds was silent, minute after minute.

At 11:29 a.m., they stood up, and a man shouted, his voice hoarse, “We are the voice of the voiceless!” The crowd echoed him as a line of officers on the other side of a fence stood watching.

“We will not go away,” they chanted, “Until we see change.”

“Say his name.”

“George Floyd.”

Others marched in from near the Supreme Court building. Cars drove by honking, some with signs, cheering the protesters.

At noon, hundreds stood in the rain at the Capitol chanting, “I can’t breathe!”

Shortly after noon, they dropped to one knee by the Capitol dome, chanting, “Bend a knee!”

They kept chanting for several minutes, facing the line of officers. A cheer rose and swelled through the crowd as at least one officer knelt.

“Thank you so much, officers!” a protest leader said into her megaphone. “Thank you so much, officers!”

Suddenly everyone was dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Make a Change.”

People walked around, handing out water and sunscreen. A protest leader turned to the crowd and said, “Please pick up your trash. Do not litter.”

All week, Heather Martin has been struggling with how to explain the protests to her 5-year-old daughter, Emmeline. They live on Capitol Hill, so they had seen lines of cars honking as they drove by.

She told her daughter that some people would treat her friends who don’t look like her differently, trying to frame racial injustice in terms that a young child could understand.

And when the protesters arrived just blocks from their home, she decided, with some trepidation, to bring her daughter to see the demonstration.

The mother and daughter wore masks and held handmade signs. Emmeline used rainbow markers to write “Black Lives Matter,” Martin said.

She said she was “super grateful” to be able to support the movement in a relatively safe way and teach her daughter about democracy and peaceful protest.

It was Emmeline’s first protest. Her mom asked whether she wanted to go to more. Emmeline paused. “Maybe not today,” she said.

“Maybe tomorrow?” her mother asked.

“Tomorrow!” Emmeline said, smiling.

By Susan Svrluga
June 3, 2020 at 12:44 PM EDT

Rain doesn’t dampen chants of crowd gathered at Capitol

Rain started falling a little after noon on the large crowd of protesters gathered at the east front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. But the rain didn’t dampen the energy of the crowd, whose chants of “Justice Now!” and “I can’t breathe!” echoed off the Capitol building, from which they were separated by metal barriers and a phalanx of U.S. Capitol Police.

Abby Belai, whose parents moved to the United States from Ethiopia before she was born, said she felt compelled to be at the protest to show support for the generations of black Americans who had suffered and battled for their constitutional rights.

“I worry for the children that see this stuff on TV and see their parents get racially profiled,” said Belai, 26, of Falls Church. “This shouldn’t continue for future generations, and we won’t stop until we are heard and seen and understood and accepted just like every person in this country and in the world.”

Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” played from a loudspeaker as the crowd turned to the police and chanted, “Take a knee.” At least one police officer did. The rain had stopped.

By Joe Heim
June 3, 2020 at 12:28 PM EDT

D.C. mayor issues citywide curfew effective at 11 p.m.

After two nights with a curfew that began at 7 p.m., Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) announced on Wednesday a curfew will go into effect at 11 p.m. today. The curfew will be posted through 6 a.m. Thursday.

“The behavior of the protesters suggest that we should push the curfew back,” D.C. police Chief Peter Newsham said Wednesday during a news conference. He added, “The largest group of protesters that we have seen to this point have been doing a little bit of self-policing.”

June 3, 2020 at 10:12 AM EDT

‘Knees down, fists up!’ Protesters parade down streets Tuesday night in Richmond

It was 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, two-and-a-half hours past curfew. The front end of a massive column of protesters, several thousand, had reached the barricaded entrance to Richmond’s Capitol Square.

Law enforcement officers stood in distant shadows, near the Capitol building, but made no move.

“Knees down, fists up!” a young man with a bullhorn yelled at the crowd. Hundreds dropped to the pavement. They had been marching and raging for four-and-a-half hours, from this spot out to the city’s graffiti-covered Confederate statues on Monument Avenue and then back.

The endless chants made their aims clear: “Black lives matter.” “No justice, no peace.” “Hands up, don’t shoot.” “Peace-ful pro-test.” “This is our last stop for the night, but this is not the end!”

Michaela Hatton, 22, of Richmond, shouted into the bullhorn.

“We demand accountability!” The crowd — black and white, young people with brightly dyed hair, gray beards with carefully provisioned backpacks — roared back. “We have got to keep this going — do not let this be the end!” Hatton said.

It was the fifth night of demonstrations in Richmond. They began over the weekend with flames, looting and gunfire. Locals pleaded for peace, blamed the violence on outside agitators.

Then on Monday night, city police tear-gassed a peaceful crowd, before curfew, at the giant statue of Robert E. Lee on Monument. Police at first blamed protesters for threatening the officers. Videos showed no evidence. Police Chief William Smith quickly issued an apology. He and Mayor Levar Stoney appeared before furious crowds earlier Tuesday to promise disciplinary action against the officers, and then Stoney joined the early part of the night’s march.

Now, politicians gone, the crowd radiated sweat and defiance.

“Let’s have 15 seconds of silence,” someone called out. It took a while for word to travel back up the street, where horns still honked, a drum pounded and chants rang out from the rear of the crowd.

Quickly, though, the sounds dropped off, until there was only the buzz of an aircraft circling overhead. KaNinja, 27, a social activist and rapper who had helped lead the night’s events, began clapping. Everyone joined in.

“We are here because of love! We are here because we want peace!” he said through the bullhorn. “We will not stand by while our brothers and sisters get attacked by the police. Tonight we defeated the police!”

A few more took the bullhorn — reminded everyone to register to vote, urging them to research local police departments and demand diversity and accountability. After a prayer for everyone to get home safely, the crowd began to disperse. But not before one last exhortation from KaNinja: “Make some noise for yourself!”

They roared again.

By Gregory S. Schneider
June 3, 2020 at 8:56 AM EDT

‘This can’t be happening’: An oral history of 48 surreal, violent, biblical minutes in Washington

On Monday evening, over the course of 48 minutes, Donald Trump put on a show that may have changed America, yet again. It involved an overture to the nation, a physical attack on Americans and a Bible. It began suddenly, in the Rose Garden, with a statement about “law and order” and “dangerous thugs.” The president promised justice for the family of George Floyd, whose death in the custody of Minneapolis police last week triggered nationwide protests, looting and violence, and a roiling debate about who we are and what we hope to become.

As the president declared that he was an “ally” of peaceful protesters, those peaceful protesters were violently dispersed to make way for his walk to St. John’s Episcopal Church, across Lafayette Square. “Our greatest days lie ahead,” Trump said. What happened during those 48 minutes convinced some people that he is right, and others that he is very wrong.

Eventually there will be a detailed accounting of what actually happened, and how, and why. For now, in the midst of the confusion, here is a first draft of history in miniature, in minutes — an oral history of 6:30 to 7:18 p.m. on June 1, 2020.

By Dan Zak, Monica Hesse, Ben Terris, Maura Judkis and Travis Andrews
June 3, 2020 at 7:47 AM EDT

Trump administration considered taking control of D.C. police force to quell protests

The Trump administration on Monday floated the idea of taking control of the D.C. police force, ratcheting up tensions between the White House and the District over how much force should be used to quell protests that have sometimes turned volatile.

The unprecedented request sent District leaders scrambling to head off what they regarded as tantamount to a government overthrow, and to the legal books to come up with a way to push back.

In the end, the federal government did not follow through but did invoke its broad powers over the District to send the National Guard onto the streets, along with military helicopters that flew over the city and menaced demonstrators, which the police chief said he “did not find helpful.”

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s administration on Tuesday confirmed the overture from the Trump administration, as the city entered a fifth day of demonstrations over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The District of Columbia is a federal enclave governed by a mayor and city council, but the federal law granting self-governance allows the president to take control of local police officers in certain emergency situations.

Bowser (D), when asked generally about the provision granting the federal government such authority, said she would regard its use as “an affront to our limited home rule and to the safety of the District of Columbia.”

By Peter Hermann, Fenit Nirappil and Josh Dawsey
June 3, 2020 at 7:35 AM EDT

For 200 years, the Insurrection Act has given presidents the power to deploy the military to quell unrest

On Monday night, as federal law enforcement officers fired rubber bullets and chemical gas at protesters outside the White House, President Trump stood in the Rose Garden and issued a threat. If the nation’s governors don’t call up National Guard troops to “dominate the streets,” Trump said, “I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.” After Trump made the threat, three words began trending on Twitter: the Insurrection Act.

No, this is not the title of a Netflix series. It’s an actual law dating to 1807.

Originally signed by Thomas Jefferson and used by him a year later, it gives Trump the power to act unilaterally: “Whenever the President considers unlawful obstructions, combinations, or assemblages or rebellion against the authority of the United States, make it impracticable to enforce the laws … in any State … he may call into Federal service such of the militia of any State, and use such of the armed forces, as he considers necessary to enforce those laws or to suppress the rebellion.”

By Ian Shapira
June 3, 2020 at 7:30 AM EDT

Photos: The fifth day of protest in the nation’s capital

Banging on fences erected near the White House and marching through the city to the U.S. Capitol, the largely peaceful protesters on Tuesday in Washington included high schoolers and stay-at-home moms, young parents and toddlers, elderly couples and large families. Here are images from the fifth day of protests in the nation’s capital.

By Dana Hedgpeth
June 3, 2020 at 6:31 AM EDT

Protester steps in after flag is lit near the White House

When a protester lit a flag on fire at the White House long after curfew took effect, another protester beat out the flames with her hands.

Ebony “Chantelle” Sherman became worried when other protesters started chucking water bottles at the police and military line in Lafayette Square.

It was about 12:10 a.m., hours after the city curfew had gone into effect, and Sherman, an office worker who lives in the District, said she feared the projectiles might provoke a violent response against her and other demonstrators.

“I want to keep everybody safe — even those that don't know how to keep themselves safe. I don't think they realize what they're up against,” Sherman said.

A person throwing water bottles shoved her after she tried to intervene. But that didn’t stop her from stepping in again moments later when another protester stuck a U.S. flag up to the eight-foot fencing in front of the police line at Lafayette Square and set it on fire. Sherman grabbed at the flag and beat out the flames with her hands.

“I was scared, and I didn’t know what they were going to do to me,” said Sherman, 25.

It was lucky she also had hairstylist gloves on, which she uses when she does her hair. She said she wore them to the protests to protect her from the pepper spray or other crowd-control irritants that law enforcement has used, and the flames singed the fabric. She felt the heat on the back of her legs as the burning flag fell to the ground.

Meanwhile, several law enforcement officers hustled toward the same spot, as if a confrontation might occur. But then they dropped back just as quickly. She doesn’t consider herself very patriotic, and the flag itself wasn’t what motivated her.

“I've been watching the news, and I've been seeing the police being really violent with us,” Sherman said. “And I don't want to do anything that makes them do anything violent against the crowd. Most people out here are peaceful, as you can see.”

Sherman said she has plenty of rage for what happened to George Floyd and the discrimination that African Americans, including her, have experienced. But she also felt empathy for the people behind the badges and shields in the line behind her.

“When they take off their uniforms, they could walk amongst us and we would take them as us. And we should,” Sherman said. “I bet a lot of them over there are young kids — like 19, 18, 20 — not all of them, but there’s young people mixed up back there.”

She added: “I don’t know what fear they have, what fear is going through their bodies. A lot of them, this is probably their first time out here, you know? They take orders. And they could be afraid of those orders. But they have to do what they’re supposed to do.”

By Fredrick Kunkle
June 3, 2020 at 6:14 AM EDT

Trump’s use of religion as a political tool draws rebukes from some faith leaders

Standing in front of the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church as the scent of a chemical irritant hung in the air, President Trump had no words to share Monday from the book in his right hand.

Instead, he posed silently for photos, holding a closed Bible slightly above his head as reporters shouted questions at him. The spectacle, which took place after authorities forcibly removed seemingly peaceful protesters from an area near the White House, highlighted Trump’s complex and at times openly transactional relationship with religion.

Trump, who rarely goes to church and has attended services at St. John’s only a handful of times since he became president in 2017, used the church as a backdrop for a photo op that critics say defies the faith he claims. The White House quickly released a video of the visit in the style of a campaign ad, and Trump’s allies praised him for standing up for faith a day after part of the 200-year-old church was set ablaze during protests.

But several religious leaders, including the Episcopal bishop of Washington, as well as Democrats and some Republicans voiced their dismay about the nakedly political optics of the president brandishing a Bible after threatening to deploy the military to crack down on protesters. Several have accused Trump of exploiting religion for political benefit while holding little if any personal allegiance to religious tenets.

By Toluse Olorunnipa and Sarah Pulliam Bailey
June 3, 2020 at 6:05 AM EDT

On Swann Street, D.C. protesters needed a refuge from police, so one resident ‘just opened a door’

From his front steps on Swann Street, Rahul Dubey watched uneasily as D.C. police in riot gear moved in on a throng of protesters.

There had been no sign of violence from the group of several hundred. But they were violating a newly imposed 7 p.m. curfew as they marched from the White House on Monday night to protest the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd.

Now, dozens of police officers had them surrounded on Dubey’s narrow side street in Northwest Washington, cutting off each end of the block with bikes and transport vans.

Cornered and afraid, some protesters knelt. Others chanted, “Let us through!” Police drew closer.

After a tense 15-minute standoff, the officers pounced.

A volley of pepper spray and chemical projectiles sent the group scrambling for cover as police charged forward from both sides, grabbing some protesters and dragging them away.

By Derek Hawkins