Groups Plan Protest Against Capitol Fence on Saturday
by Larry Janezich
Posted March 10, 2021
Two separate neighborhood grass roots groups will use different tactics to oppose the US Capitol fence which has come under fire from local officials as well as members of Congress. The efforts will give residents of the Capitol Hill neighborhoods an opportunity to participate in the resistance.
Last night, Tiffany Davidson of “Don’t Fence the Capitol” spoke to ANC6B’s virtual meeting to announce the give-away of 250 “Don’t Fence the Capitol” yard signs at Eastern Market this Saturday between 10:00am and 2:00pm. The yard signs grew out of a “Don’t Fence the Capitol” petition started by Allison Cunningham four weeks ago which has garnered about 30,000 signatures as of today. Here’s a link to the petition: http://bit.ly/3t7Wq9a
Davidson started the yard sign campaign by giving away 150 yard signs, and then raising $2,000 and ordering another 250 which will be distributed on Saturday.
Another effort, spearheaded by EatDC and The Hill Is Home calls for a peaceful gathering at 2nd and East Capitol at 10:00am on Saturday to express opposition to the fence and its adverse impact on our neighborhoods. Here’s a link to a piece in The Hill Is Home with additional information: https://bit.ly/3rBDbEs
Yesterday, a US Capitol Police request to extend the presence of the National Guard at the Capitol through May 23 was approved by the Department of Defense. It’s not clear, but it seems likely that the fence around the Capitol complex will remain in place at least that long. If not removal, then reducing the footprint of the fence to alleviate its disruption of bike, pedestrian, and vehicular traffic would be welcome.
Earlier this week, a task force appointed by Speaker Pelosi and headed by retired Army General Russel Honore found the USCP understaffed, insufficiently equipped and inadequately trained.
Today, an editorial in the Washington Post points out that the US Capitol Police is one of the largest and best funded police forces in the country – and questioned whether instead of a lack of resources it was the lackadaisical preparation for January 6 – in contrast to the preparations for the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer – that resulted in their failure to protect the Capitol. The US Capitol Police is an overconfident, secretive, highly insular, non-transparent organization that continues year after year as their elected overseers rotate into and out of office. This has left them presiding over the Congressional security system with a “we know what’s best” attitude and little accountability. For example, the USCP, like Congressional offices, are exempt from FOIA requests. They operate at the direction of the US Capitol Police Board (and indirectly at the direction of Congressional leadership) comprised of the Architect of the Capitol (appointed by the President) and the House and Senate Sergeants at Arms (appointed by House and Senate Leadership). Any reform effort should take a long look at USCP oversight, management, and accountability.