No Public Safety Threat From Protesters: Councilman

Mendelson: Convention center protest an exception

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Despite a threat by DC police to get tougher on unruly demonstrations after violence last weekend, a top city official says he sees few public safety problems with the occupy protesters. (Published Friday, Nov 11, 2011)

    Despite a threat by D.C. police to get tougher on unruly demonstrations after violence last weekend, a top city official said he sees no public safety problems with the protesters.

    Councilman Phil Mendelson, who chairs the D.C. Council Judiciary Committee, said he believes the protesters are mainly peaceful and pursuing their right to demonstrate.

    The protest outside the Washington Convention Center Nov. 4 disrupted traffic, resulted in some injuries and prompted complaints that police weren't controlling the streets. Other than that, D.C. has avoided the violence seen in other cities.

    Police Chief Cathy Lanier and Mayor Vincent Gray issued statements warning of tougher enforcement in the wake of the convention center protest, but not everyone agrees the protests are getting more violent.

    “What I've seen has not struck me as dangerous or as a public safety threat,” Mendelson said.

    On the Kojo Nnamdi Politics Hour on WAMU 88.5 radio, Mendelson said he thought the convention center was an exception with maybe too few officers on hand.

    Protester camps at McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza were mostly quiet Friday as protesters hunkered down against the cold and biting wind.

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