Last Night at the GW Gaza Encampment


Mayor Bowser didn’t want to be embarrassed as she testifies before Congress today, so she sent in the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to clear the Gaza Encampment at George Washington University.

I visited the camp, located in the University Yard, the night before, just hours before the police would move in.

A couple hundred people had gathered to protest Israel’s attack on Rafah. A professor gave a speech on the need to divest from American companies that supplied bombs and weapons to Israel.

The atmosphere was chill in the Yard filled with blue, orange and green tents. Toddlers played as “Free Palestine!” was chanted. Food was available nearby while medics were on hand in case of emergency. Campus police intermingled with the protesters; I saw one of them warn a protester about attaching a hammock to a lamp post because it was wobbly.

There wasn’t much to photograph so I just sat with Anarchy Princess, legendary tormenter of chuds, and watched the crowd.

The only interesting moment for us came when we spotted the right-wing live-streamer known as Corringe, who peddles conspiracy theories and MLM products on YouTube. She had claimed that she needed a bodyguard to visit the encampment but there she was, wandering through the demonstration, interviewing folks and filming signs. No one cared.

After we left, things heated up, with students marching to University President Ellen Granberg’s home on F Street, chanting “Granberg, Granberg you will see, Palestine is almost free.”

At 4 AM, the police moved in. Using batons and pepper-spray, they forced the protesters out of the University Yard with more than a dozen arrested.

Why now?

Because Mayor Bowser testifies before the House Oversight Committee this afternoon and didn’t want to be embarrassed by questions from House GOP members.

Think this is too cynical? You don’t know Muriel. She’s been Mayor since 2015 and rules the city with irritate pique, annoyed at residents with their complaints about murders and pedestrian deaths, and unfettered by a powerless City Council.

Slapping her name on everything that DC residents pay for, “Mayor Muriel Bowser Presents” has become a kind of rueful joke, as we taxpayers see her name on street improvement projects, music festivals and flyers that she mails using our money to flaunt her accomplishments.

Will she put her name on this? Mayor Muriel Bowser Presents Crackdown at GW?


I visited the camp this morning. The police have blocked off H St. Scores of them. Squad cars fill the campus. Bike cops are lined up on 20th St. You can’t even see the University Yard, the police keeping the press away.

Yet, ordinary life continues, like it has this entire time. Western Market is open – police officers were getting bagels there. Neighbors walked by to gawk. Commuters arrived at their offices.

Last night, I talked to a photographer. He had just returned from a vigil for a three-year old who was shot and killed.

The police were not there for her, this child in Southeast. Instead, they were across town, in Northwest, crushing a peaceful student protest so that Mayor Muriel Bowser wouldn’t face embarrassing questions as she testifies before Congress today.

Someone should ask her about that. Why were hundreds of officers sent to arrest demonstrators? How come they’re not in Southeast and other neighborhoods where they are needed?

The crackdown at GW was a colossal waste of resources and proof that city services operate at the whim of one person and one person only: Mayor Muriel Bowser.


Author: Joe Flood

Joe Flood is a writer, photographer and web person from Washington, DC. The author of several novels, Joe won the City Paper Fiction Competition in 2020. In his free time, he enjoys wandering about the city taking photos.

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