“I hope that they go out there today, peacefully as they did yesterday, and not blink,” said Rahul Dubey, who sheltered dozens of people, “because our country needs them.”
In a show of solidarity applauded as the kind of empathy and mutual aid needed in the face of brutal police crackdown, city residents in Washington, D.C. on Monday night opened their doors to protesters—mostly teenagers—fleeing police, keeping the demonstrators safe until curfew lifted Tuesday morning despite efforts from law enforcement to make arrests.
“I hope that my 13-year-old son grows up to be just as amazing as they are,” Rahul Dubey, who sheltered around 70 demonstrators in his home overnight, told WJLA.
“I hope that my 13-year-old son grows up to be just as amazing as they are.”
Rahul Dubey opened his home to nearly 70 strangers overnight and sheltered them during D.C.’s curfew. He says our country needs people like THEM.
— ABC 7 News – WJLA (@ABC7News) June 2, 2020
Demonstrations across Washington sparked by the May 25 killing of George Floyd were violently attacked by police around 6:30pm in the city’s Lafayette Square in advance of a hastily assembled photo opportunity for President Donald Trump.
Later Monday evening protesters were “kettled,” or herded and trapped, into a block of Swann St. in downtown D.C. as heavily armed police forces closed in to make arrests and fired teargas.
— Jay Newton-Small (@JNSmall) June 2, 2020
Dubey and other residents along the residential street threw open their doors and took in some of the demonstrators.
— Maureen Umeh (@MaureenUmehFox5) June 2, 2020
Reporting from the scene Monday night and early Tuesday morning showed protesters hunkered down in the homes. Residents reportedly provided milk to flush pepper spray from demonstrators’ eyes, passing jugs over fences to help.
A protester tells me from inside that they took injured protesters into the basement and used milk to wash out people’s eyes. When they ran out, neighbors passed jugs of milk over the fence. https://t.co/RExS6P8EYm
— Derek Hawkins (@D_Hawk) June 2, 2020
At one point, Dubey said, police fired tear gas into an open window and later, at least temporarily, blocked pizzas he ordered from being delivered to the house.
This is Rahul. Rahul saved 62 DC protesters who were trapped for hours on his block by police. He allowed them to stay all night, fed them, gave them water, charged their phones, and most importantly kept them safe. This was no party, the police through pepper spray canisters pic.twitter.com/ZDpNkfXsoa
— suckmyunicorn (@suckmyunicornD) June 2, 2020
DC, tonight MPD cops under the authority of @ChiefNewsham and @MayorBowser unleashed tear gas into a private home that took in dozens of protesters after they were cornered off for arrests in a neighborhood.
— Alex Taliadoros (@AlexCTaliadoros) June 2, 2020
MPD promised that no one would get arrested if they ordered food for the hungry protesters trapped inside but now cops are refusing to let the driver deliver the food.
Here is the resident of the house who voluntarily took in the protesters negotiating with police for food. pic.twitter.com/2X8iQgztu4
— Alex Taliadoros (@AlexCTaliadoros) June 2, 2020
A demonstrator who asked to only be identified by his first name Meka told DCist early Tuesday that it took the crowd in Dubey’s home some time to stop coughing from the gas.
They shot mace at peaceful protesters is a residential neighborhood. The man who took us in is named Rahul Dubey. He gave us business cards in case they try to say we broke in. pic.twitter.com/gKzmrvCa75
— Meka (@MekaFromThe703) June 2, 2020
“I came out with a friend to support a movement against police brutality and racism in the force,” Meka said. “I mean, everyone here is pretty mad because we’re trying to demonstrate our rights given to us by the Constitution, and they’re taking those away from us.”
At 6:00am, as curfew lifted, protesters began leaving the area.
Ok friends. We’re starting to leave. Thank you so much for following. Thank you so much for sending your support. We’re getting Rahuls house clean because he hosted all these sweaty protest babies all night and kept us safe.
— Allison Lane (@allieblablah) June 2, 2020
But not before getting fed, as resident Becca Thimmesch noted.
“Lots of community members bringing breakfast,” tweeted Thimmesch. “Getting these kids fed and then hopefully out of here safely soon.”
“These kids have been through hell tonight and they’re still cheering for poptarts,” she added.
Rahul saved lives last night. He ended this with an inspirational speech about not giving up and keeping up the peaceful fight. What a guy. Thank you Rahul. #SwannStreet #savejenny pic.twitter.com/e0SETLcSpw
— BLACKLIVESMATTER (@kikivonfreaki) June 2, 2020
For his part, Dubey praised the demonstrators.
“I hope that they continue to fight,” said Dubey. “And I hope that they go out there today, peacefully as they did yesterday, and not blink, because our country needs them.”