Just when you thought the Occupy movement's over-the-top antics were waning, things started to heat up again on Tuesday night after two smoke bombs were apparently thrown over the White House fence.
While few details were initially given, the "smoking objects," as MyFoxDC.com reported, led to the White House being put on a brief and partial lockdown. In an effort to safely examine the device, the Secret Service used a robot. The Obamas were not inside the White House at the time, as they were out at a nearby steakhouse celebrating First Lady Michelle Obama's birthday.
Last night, the individual managing the Occupy D.C. Twitter account wrote, "Someone threw a firecracker" and "Someone just chucked something over the fence, it's on fire. People are saying its a firecracker":
Currently, no arrests have been made, although the secret service reports that authorities are looking into the incident. The smoke bombs were apparently tossed as 1,000 people protested outside of the White House. This convergence followed an earlier rally on the West Lawn of the Capitol that the protesters called "Occupy Congress." While planners had secured a permit for 10,000 people and promised that the event would be the largest national gathering of Occupiers to date, the numbers didn't come close to this lofty goal.
Here's some raw footage of the events that unfolded outside the White House last night:
Occupy D.C. is currently a point of contention in Washington, as critics of the movement are ramping up pressure on the Obama administration to stop the protesters from residing in McPherson Square -- a federal park. Next week, House Republicans plan to hold a hearing on the matter. Additionally, the city's mayor, Vincent Gray, like other leaders across the nation, is citing the unsanitary conditions as a reason to have the Occupiers removed.
While local leaders are typically responsible for managing the protests, MyFoxDC.com explains why the local movement is in Obama's hands:
An attempt to evict the protesters would almost certainly be met with resistance and arrests. The White House has deferred to local authorities in New York and elsewhere as they have evicted "Occupy" camps. But unlike other cities, the federal government is managing the demonstrations because the Park Service oversees many D.C. parklands, leaving the decision in the hands of Obama's administration.
It looks like it's going to take more than cold weather to slow down the Occupiers. While they certainly have every constitutional right to protest, the presence of smoke bombs and other violent tools will continue to tarnish the movement's image.