October2011 demonstrators who were protesting the drone exhibit at the Smithsonian Saturday afternoon were sprayed at the front door by security guards (who also sprayed a museum-goer who had nothing to do with the protest) as they attempted to enter the museum. Here’s the Post version:
The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum on the Mall was abruptly closed Saturday afternoon after a “large group of protesters” tried to push past security guards and enter the museum, a spokeswoman said.
At least one demonstrator was pepper-sprayed by a museum guard in the confrontation, said Smithsonian spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas.
Several witnesses said that more than a dozen people were affected by the spray.The museum was closed at about 3:15 p.m., St. Thomas said.
Some of the protesters were affiliated with the Occupy DCdemonstration that had sprung up at McPherson Square last week as an offshoot of the larger Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City, said Cody Steele, 21, an American University senior who participated in the march to the museum.
Steele said the march was planned, however, by a different but like-minded group of protesters — known as the October 2011 group — who have been camped out in Freedom Plaza since Oct. 6.
“It’s a shifting movement,” said Steele, who has spent time with both protest groups this past week. “They are separate, but it’s a common set of goals.”