Rahul Dubey sheltered dozens of protesters at his home in Washington, DC, to protect them from arrest.

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Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a curfew of 7 p.m. at 6 a.m. throughout the city on Monday in response to the sometimes violent protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

A protester told CNN that the crowd was marching away from the White House on Monday night and ended up in a residential neighborhood where police locked them up.

The protester, who asked to be identified only as Meka, told CNN that the protest was peaceful and that people were just trying to figure out what to do.

“I guess someone gave an order, and they just started pushing us, spraying maces, trampling on people, and that’s when everyone started panicking,” said the 22-year-old college student.

He looked around and saw his friend running up the stairs to the nearby house and a man waving to the protesters.

“I just ran up the steps and went up the steps and started going in as fast as possible,” Meka said. “Right now, I didn’t know if it was the right decision, but I guess it did.”
He said he looked out the window and saw more police than he could count and that many people were arrested outside.

Metropolitan Police Department chief Peter Newsham said Tuesday that none of the protesters inside the house was arrested and that officers “were in constant communication with that owner throughout the night.”

Newsham said 300 people were arrested Monday night, including 194 in the area around Rahul Dubey’s home.

Dubey said CNN affiliate WJLA he was on his bench and had let some of the protesters charge their phones inside and use their bathroom before the police moved in. “There was a huge bang and there was a spray that my eyes started to burn, screaming like I had never heard Before, and I described it as a “human tsunami,” it’s the best I could see for about a quarter of a block going down the street, “he told WJLA.

He said he was screaming “come in, come into the house” for about 10 minutes.
Dubey told WJLA that about 70 protesters entered and that it was “pandemonium and mayhem” for about an hour and a half as they tried to settle in and help people who had been sprayed with pepper.

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CNN was unable to reach Dubey for comment.

Meka told CNN that she was unable to sleep on Monday night and that police repeatedly tried to get protesters out.

He said that at one point Dubey was able to receive pizza and some community members also brought food.

Becca Thimmesch lives about two blocks from Dubey and said that she and three other people stayed on their bench overnight to observe police activity and consult with protesters.

She said they also worked to organize trips to take the youth home once the curfew was lifted.

“Then, around five o’clock, with an hour of curfew left, community members began showing up left and right bringing food and water and hand sanitizer and their cars and offering to bring people,” Thimmesch said.

She said they had more volunteers than they needed when the protesters left, so many of them stayed and helped clean up.

Earlier on Monday, authorities used rubber bullets and tear gas to remove protesters from Lafayette Park to President Trump could visit the Episcopal Church of San Juan.

Thimmesch said he saw other residents on the street let protesters into their homes.

“There is currently a global pandemic, and we have been told, ‘don’t let people enter your home, don’t share space with people,'” he said. “And you know, these random people made what I consider a great sacrifice, to try to ensure the safety of the young people they didn’t know.”

Dubey told WJLA that he considers the family of the young protesters and was relieved to receive text messages and messages that everyone was safe at home.

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“I hope my 13-year-old son grows up to be as amazing as they are,” he said.

“I hope that you continue to fight and I hope that you will leave today peacefully, as you did yesterday, and do not blink because our country needs you, and needs you and everyone more than ever at this time.”

CNN’s Lauren Koenig contributed to this story.

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Cory Weinberg

About the Author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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