If you’re not following the Swann Street siege story this morning, it’s incredible.
Yesterday evening, D.C. police forced a large group of peaceful protesters and demonstrators into a residential neighborhood in a tactic known as “kettling.”
Kettling is a military technique to encircle people, to box them in on all sides, into a smaller and smaller and smaller space where they can’t retreat or escape from. In American protests, it’s often accompanied by police forces taking advantage of the fact that protesters can’t retreat to inflict maximum harm with teargas, batons, and other weapons for an extended period before doing mass arrests.
It’s not a dispersement technique, it’s the complete opposite — it’s a technique of intense aggression, and it’s controversial because it’s seldom used in good faith and often results in intense prolonged violence, with the intention of also cutting everyone caught in the kettle off from medics, aid, food, water, the ability to leave, etc.
Last night, D.C. police pushed demonstrators into a residential neighborhood in an attempt to kettle them. But residents of the neighborhood had been watching, and threw open their front doors to protesters, including a first-generation Indian-American man named Rahul Dubey.
Rahul and his neighbors sheltered a hundred people or more, between them, for eight hours last night, including having teargas fired at their homes and having the police try to enter their private property several times through various methods. They were rebuked and dispelled every time.