RT America reporter arrested while covering inauguration protests
RT America's Alexander Rubinstein was arrested while covering the protests near McPherson Square in Washington, DC. He was in the crowd, covering protesters when police circled a group of people.
Update: At 8:28pm Eastern, RT's DC reporter Alexey Yaroshevsky tweeted that Rubinstein had been released.
Just got news that our reporter @AlexR_DC was set free by DC police— Alexey Yaroshevsky (@Yaro_RT) January 21, 2017
Rubinstein was among the group arrested at 12th and L Streets NW. He is being taken into custody, even though he showed police his media credentials.
Here is the flash grenade they used that blinded me and left my ears ringing. Cops encircled crowd when I couldn't see; arresting everyone pic.twitter.com/bL2ulgv9DR— Alexander Rubinstein (@AlexR_DC) January 20, 2017
The National Park Police surrounded the group, corralling them with riot shields, Rubinstein said. It's reportedly illegal to "kettle" protesters in this manner, and there is already talk of a lawsuit among the group.
Trying to get a video statement out about my arrest but it is not uploading yet. Stay tuned and follow @RT_America— Alexander Rubinstein (@AlexR_DC) January 20, 2017
"We're just waiting, the police are filming us, waiting for them to arrest us, surrounded by riot shields," he said.
Police are now in full riot gear and call over radio permission for "OC" spray or pepper spray. pic.twitter.com/yZQh5PJav7— Patrick Madden (@Patrick_Madden) January 20, 2017
Police appeared to be taking people one at a time. It is unclear if they were being detained or arrested.
The group was arrested and charged with rioting, police said in a statement.
"Pepper spray and other control devices were used to control the criminal actors and protect persons and property," the Metropolitan Police Department said. "During the incident, police vehicles were damaged and two uniformed officers sustained minor injuries from coordinated attacks by members of the group that were attempting to avoid arrest."
MPD Statement on Acts of Vandalism earlier today: pic.twitter.com/uWQS2OT7SI— DC Police Department (@DCPoliceDept) January 20, 2017
RT America has reached out to both the Metropolitan PD and the US Park Police about Rubinstein's arrest.
This is the first mass arrest in DC in 14 years, according to DisruptJ20, but that information could not be verified by RT.
Protesters from Anticapitalist Bloc are being made to stand with hands up, taken one by one, put in police vans. #disruptj2o— ✊ #DisruptJ20 ✊ (@DisruptJ20) January 20, 2017