Human Events Blog

Fast and Furious: Secret Service shuts down student protest of Eric Holder

Remember “Occupy Wall Street?”  If they’ve already faded from your memory, they were a band of loud, unpleasant squatters who forcibly seized public property, in cities across the nation, to draw attention to their agenda, which they weren’t terribly good at explaining.

The Occupy movement was enthusiastically embraced by liberal news organizations and Democrat politicians, who sang the praises of “dissent” and gazed with adoration upon a protest movement staffed largely by young people.  Great pains were taken, for a very long time, to downplay or suppress reports of violent behavior from the Occupy mobs.  With comical regularity, every nefarious deed was quickly ascribed to “rogue elements,” whose actions were not supposed to reflect upon the noble Occupiers in general.  At one point, a bullet few out of an Occupy protest and struck the White House, but even this was swiftly dismissed as rogue elementalism.  The Occupy movement marched onward for some time afterward, until city authorities in D.C. and elsewhere grew weary of dealing with the collateral damage, and the movement itself ran out of gas.

It looks like dissent is out of fashion again, because a group of about 50 students assembled outside the White House to protest Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama’s stonewalling of the “Operation Fast and Furious” investigation, and they only lasted a couple of hours before the Secret Service shut them down.

The pretext for this was discovery of a “suspicious package,” but those who attended the march are not buying it.  The Washington Examiner quotes a student protester from the University of California: “Several agents seemed hostile to our march and seemed anxious for us to leave the area.  The discover[y of] the ‘unidentified package’ came just as the protest began gain traction.”

Matt Boyle of the Daily Caller was at the protest, and said via Twitter, “There is absolutely no way this ‘threat’ Secret Service claims was a serious one.”

A post at Campus Reform provides more details: “Secret Service officials forced the approximately 50 student-activists, who organized the event over social media, to leave the area after the protest had attracted significant attention from members of the White House press corps. and major news outlets… The Secret Service reopened the the portion of Pennsylvania Ave. that borders the White House shortly after protesters, who had been waiting nearby on 15th street for nearly half an hour, had dispersed. Agents did not communicate with organizers during that time.  Neither the White House nor the nearby Treasury building were shutdown. Employees of both building and members of the White House media were allowed to traverse the evacuated zone while protesters were kept out.”

Boyle published an article about the protests on Sunday, in which a press release from event organizer Oliver Darcy is quoted as saying, “We want justice for the victims and families affected by this scandal.  We are protesting to let Barack Obama and AG Holder know that the truth must prevail.  They should fully disclose all documents related to the case in order to bring closure to a dark moment in our country’s history. Anything less is a fraud of justice.”

Maybe they should try “occupying” something, and see where that gets them.  At the very least, the contrast between official and media reaction to this “occupation” and the previous one would be interesting.

Update: It turns out the “suspicious package” was a backpack, which according to Matt Boyle had been left on the ground while its owner, a middle-aged woman, took a photograph with her family.

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