When protesters block traffic: D.C. police protocol

coverage and images of Monday’s street blocking protests in WTOP’s live blog.

WASHINGTON — Monday was the third straight day demonstrators inspired by the
protests in Ferguson, Missouri, have blocked traffic on the streets of the
Nation’s Capital — and they threaten to keep it up.

Street-blocking protests are nothing new to Washington, the tactic has been
of demonstrations stretching back generations. But it’s a ploy that snarls
traffic, slows commerce, and frustrates motorists.

“As a matter of policy we do not discuss our strategic and operational
says Officer Araz Alali, a public information officer for the Metropolitan
Department, declining to provide precise details about how police respond to
types of protests.

However, street-blocking demonstrators are not immediately removed from the
street, but are instead given a series of warnings.

“That’s part of our protocol, when they’re blocking passage, we want to give
the opportunity to disperse and leave,” Alali says.

Police say the Ferguson-inspired street-blockers are not being given any
treatment. The department’s Special Operations Division leads the response to
street protests, and Alali says the goal is to balance public safety with the
First Amendment rights of protesters.

“These demonstrations are handled the same as previous demonstrations,” Alali

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and on the
WTOP Facebook page.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up