Washington, DC, Police Chief Peter Newsham is preparing for an unprecedented Saturday night of protests.
Chief Newsham’s primary concern is “to ensure that we don’t have people who are going to be inclined to be involved in bad behavior,” which is, in his words, “more of our focus than the actual numbers.” And while he expects Saturday night to be the most popular night for protesters to march the streets of the capital, he is hesitant to say it will match events such as the 2017 Women’s March.
As many as a million protested in the 2017 demonstration in the name of reproductive rights and gender equality. Newsham believes that much of that number is due to the fact that it was a singular event, versus the nationwide protests spread across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s alleged murder by Officer Derek Chauvin of the Minneapolis Police Department.
The diffusion is “an indication to me that it may not be as large as the Women’s March,” he explained, “because that was a singular event here in the District.” Fortunately for D.C. law enforcement authorities, things have already seemed to quiet down. Newsham confirmed that on Thursday, like Wednesday, no arrests were made in connection to the protests.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser was similarly optimistic: “Our expectation is that everybody will come here peacefully, they will demonstrate, and then they will go home,” she said.