Updated at 2:27 p.m.
Horses clatter through D.C. no more.
The protest dissipated by mid-afternoon, police spokesman Hugh Carew said. Carew initially said that the protest was still closing roads at 18th and K Streets NW, but that protest was unrelated to the protesters on horseback.
Updated at 12:15 p.m.
The horseback riders protesting land rights continued to cause rolling street closures Thursday afternoon in the District.
Just before noon, the protesters were still “staged” in the 300 block of Maryland Avenue SW near the U.S. Capitol. D.C. police said they did not how much longer they would need to keep the road closed for the group, known as the Grass March and Cowboy Express.
The “cowboys” — dressed in wide-brim hats, jeans and boots atop their horses — caused many commuters to do a double take during Thursday morning’s rush hour as they rode into the District. D.C. Police had rolling street closures as the demonstrators rode through the city.
One lone rider came in on Route 29 from Prince William County in the early morning darkness with a TV camera and a police car (for safety) following him.
As the morning went on, four demonstrators on horseback were spotted in Georgetown.
Updated at 10:05 a.m.
D.C. has its share of traffic jams and fender benders in the morning. Thursday’s latest traffic turned heads — protesters on horseback.
The group’s demonstrators are causing rolling road closures in the city.
Police said the demonstrators will “stage” in the 300 block of Maryland Avenue SW and the eastbound lanes of that block will be closed “until further notice.”
Updated at 9:32 a.m.
More spottings of the horse-riding protesters in the District.
D.C. Police have warned of rolling street closures as they make their way through the city.
Updated at 8:40 a.m.
D.C. police said there would be rolling street closures in Northwest to make way for demonstrators on horseback.
The group is expected to be on M Street, heading eastbound, to Washington Circle.
A tweet from the department read —
D.C. Police continued to track the horses through the city —
Original post at 5:05 a.m.
Horses, a mule wagon and cowboys (yes, you read correctly) could create a traffic problem this morning as they make their way from Prince William County to the District. Virginia State Police said the Grass March and Cowboy Express is on its way along the Route 234 and Route 29 corridors, after starting about 4 a.m., to raise concerns about ranchers’ grazing rights. In the pre-dawn hours, NBC 4 showed a man on horseback in Manassas. The rider said he was headed to the Key Bridge in the District to meet up with a larger group. It was not immediately known at what times the group is expected to hit the D.C. area. They are traveling with a crew of support vehicles as well, the group’s Facebook page said.
Around 8 a.m., there was a report of a man on a horse in Rosslyn with police trailing behind to make sure there were no problems or safety issues.
Not exactly the fastest travelers, the entourage can only go about 10 mph, “so motorists are advised to use caution and expect potential delays,” police said. Police said the “most significant impact on traffic will be between Manassas National Battlefield Park and Bull Run” because it is a two-lane highway, according to Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corrine Geller.
The ride was organized by Grant Gerber, a commissioner in Elko County, Nev., to protest the federal Bureau of Land Management’s move to close some grazing areas in Nevada because of severe drought, according to the NevadaJournal.com. According to the group’s Facebook page, they started their journey in late September from Bodega Bay, Calif., and have been traveling along highways, riding about 12 to 15 hours a day.
The group said it is “calling for relief from federal agencies that do not listen and have no stake in local communities,” according to its Facebook page. Their concerns are “endangered species, water, wildfire, wetlands, wilderness and other mismanagement failures of the federal government that destroy families, the economy, the forests, grassland and animals that they were meant to protect.”
Their protest comes after the federal government’s disputes with Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who tried to stop a roundup of his cattle outside Las Vegas in April. The government said he owes more than $1 million in penalties and other fees for trespassing on public lands.
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