A group of left-wing protesters calling themselves the Embassy Protection Collective had occupied the Venezuelan embassy as part of the “Hands Off Venezuela” movement. Today the remaining four were evicted and arrested by police:
Carlos Vecchio, the Guaidó-appointed ambassador who has been recognized by the U.S. government, tweeted that the embassy had been liberated. Federal authorities and D.C. police arrived at the embassy this morning and entered the building, but haven’t commented today on the situation.
Code Pink organizers identified the four activists arrested as Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers, Adrienne Pine and David Paul.
Here’s what these four dead-enders look like. Note they are posing in front of a photo of Hugo Chavez:
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) May 15, 2019
In theory, this movement was about avoiding US intervention in Venezuela. In reality, it is offering support to the country’s embattled dictator Nicolas Maduro. There have been ongoing skirmishes between the protesters inside the embassy and anti-Maduro protesters outside who wanted them ejected. This will give you a sense of what has been happening for the past month:
Last week the occupation took a turn when an ambassador representing Juan Guaido, the recognized interim president of Venezuela, ordered PEPCO to cut power and water to the embassy. The protesters were outraged at having to live in conditions not that different from how many Venezuelans have been living for months. The standoff turned a legal corner Monday when protesters were served with an eviction notice.
BREAKING: authorities just taped this ‘trespassing notice’ onto the Venezuelan embassy. It orders all those inside to leave immediately and threatens arrest to those who refuse to comply with orders.
This is illegal under international law! pic.twitter.com/Xdlgk29Zot
— CODEPINK (@codepink) May 13, 2019
Protesters outside also made it difficult for the people inside to get food. There was a scuffle yesterday as Jesse Jackson brought food which Code Pink supporters tried to send up to the embassy on a rope:
— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) May 15, 2019
But it was all for naught. The four remaining Maduro supporters have been removed and arrested.
BREAKING: At 9:30 in the morning, DC police officers illegally entered the Venezuelan embassy in Washington DC in the Georgetown neighborhood & arrested four activists lawfully living in the building since April 10 as guests of the legitimate VZLA govt.https://t.co/CT958y9RNM
— CODEPINK (@codepink) May 16, 2019
— Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) May 16, 2019
Finally, here’s a Vice report on the situation from last week featuring an interview with Medea Benjamin who sidesteps the question of whether or not she supports Maduro (Hint: She does). Toward the end of this a Venezuelan woman tells Vice, “I really feel like these people have a savior complex.” She’s right about that. Now that they’ve been ejected they can move on to saving someone else.
Update: Just came across this video of Medea Benjamin lecturing the police and threatening to disrupt the counter-protesters. The officer’s eyes almost roll out of his head:
"I'm gonna go right into that crowd and you're gonna have to arrest me" she told an officer. pic.twitter.com/53HJdBvDpb
— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) May 12, 2019