Authorities shut down Washington’s popular National Air and Space Museum on Saturday afternoon after antiwar protesters tried to enter the building and clashed with guards, a museum official said.
One person was arrested during the melee at the Smithsonian Institution museum involving between 150 and 200 protesters and six guards, museum spokesperson Isabel Lara said.
“There was a lot of shoving going on,” Lara said, adding that one of the guards was surrounded and used pepper spray before the demonstrators were moved outside.
She said she was not aware of any injuries.
The shoving match broke out in a vestibule between two glass doors at the museum entrance after guards told the protesters they could not enter with signs, Lara said.
Protest organizers said the attempt to enter the museum on the National Mall was part of the Occupy DC antiwar demonstrations that began on Thursday on the 10th anniversary of the start of the war in Afghanistan.
“Along with the Occupy Wall Street movement, it represents an upswell of people taking to the street around the country to demand social and economic justice as well as an end to the immoral wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” organizers said in an e-mail statement.
“It is outrageous that the security guard of a major museum in America pepper sprayed Americans as they entered the museum. The drones housed in this museum and the pepper spraying of Americans at the door are clear evidence of repression in America,” retired US Colonel Ann Wright said in the e-mail.
Drones are armed tactical unmanned planes used by the US government to track and attack insurgents overseas.
The museum, which draws 8 million visitors a year and is the most visited Smithsonian museum, was shut down at 3:15pm. Lara said it was to reopen yesterday.
Anti-Wall Street protests continued in New York City on Saturday and in other US cities, although crowds outside New York have been much smaller.
“We’re tired of other people controlling, or thinking they control, our lives and our livelihoods,” said Kristin Thompson, a 22-year-old preschool teacher and one of 100 protesters in Mobile, Alabama.
In Santa Fe, New Mexico, about 250 protesters lined the streets outside a Bank of America branch, waving signs at passing vehicles.
Participants said they had been summoned via social network Internet sites, labor organizers, the liberal Web site MoveOn.org and members of their local Green Party.
“We are all in this together,” said Ramona Beene, 45, who owns a cake company.
She said her two college-age children were “spending thousands of dollars and won’t have jobs after they graduate.”
In New York, hundreds of protesters marched from lower Manhattan to Washington Square Park in the Greenwich Village neighborhood — the site of protests against the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 1970s — to discuss expanding their encampment to other sites.
Lucas Vasquez, a student leading the march, said protesters were looking at expanding into Washington Square and Battery Parks, but stressed: “We’re not going to give up Liberty Plaza” — the protesters’ name for Zuccotti Park near Wall Street, where about 250 have camped out around the clock.
“It’s sometimes hard to move around there. We have a lot of people,” he said.
POINT-BLANK RANGE: Reporters and camera people from several outlets say police officers in Minneapolis had fired tear gas and rubber bullets directly at them Multiple journalists on the ground in Minnesota said they were teargassed and subject to other attacks by police on Saturday evening, a day after the widely condemned arrest of a CNN reporter live on air. Los Angeles Times journalist Molly Hennessy-Fiske, who was reporting outside the Fifth Precinct in Minneapolis, said she was with a group of about a dozen journalists when the Minnesota State Patrol “fired tear gas canisters on us at point blank range.” “I was saying: ‘Where do we go?’ They did not tell us where to go. They didn’t direct us. They just fired on us,” she said
For nearly a decade, the UN Security Council has been frequently paralyzed by Russia’s obstinacy over the Syrian crisis. Today, however, it is the US-China rivalry that has infected a growing array of issues, according to officials and diplomats. As recently as 2017, an understanding between Washington and Beijing allowed the UN on three occasions — involving separate sets of economic sanctions — to project international unity in the face of the North Korean nuclear threat. Three years later, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a ferocious competition erupt between the UN’s two main contributors, prompting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on May
HISTORIC FLIGHT: The astronauts named their capsule ‘Endeavour,’ after the space shuttle on which they both flew, while Elon Musk said he was overcome with emotion Two veteran NASA astronauts headed for the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday after Elon Musk’s SpaceX on Saturday became the first commercial company to launch a rocket carrying humans into orbit, ushering in a new era in space travel. SpaceX’s two-stage Falcon 9 rocket with astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard blasted off flawlessly in a cloud of bright orange flames and smoke from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, for a 19-hour voyage to the space station. “Let’s light this candle,” Hurley, the mission commander, told SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, California, before liftoff at 3:22pm from NASA’s
INDIA Pride to be preserved The nation would not let its “pride be hurt” in its latest border flare-ups with China, but is determined to settle the dispute through talks, Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh said in a television interview late on Saturday. “Situations arise with China. It has happened before,” Singh said, adding that the government was striving to make sure “tension does not escalate.” The government has turned down US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate, he said. IRAN Speaker says talks futile Newly elected Parliament Speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf yesterday said that any negotiations with the US would be “futile.” The nation’s