WASHINGTON: An Indian-American healthcare executive has become a local and national hero in the protest movement roiling the United States after he sheltered scores of peaceful demonstrators in his modest home as they were chased by the police in a brutal crackdown in front of the White House to make way for a photo opportunity for President Trump.
Rahul Dubey, 44, waved swarms of protestors into his rented row house on Swann Street near Dupont Circle as police corralled them on the narrow one-way lane and sought to arrest them. “They unleashed sheer hell on peaceful protesters right outside my stoop,” Dubey told the local media. “I just flung the door open and kept yelling, “Come in. Get in the house. Literally I can hear skulls being cracked.”
Eventually some 70 people piled into the house coughing and eyes streaming tears from the pepper spray, worrying the home owner, a Democratic staffer in California who was concerned his house would be damaged in police action. The protesters stayed the entire night as Dubey and some of his neighbors ordered pizza and coffee for them, before leaving at 6am when curfew was lifted – with no arrests and no damage.
The incident received wide local and national coverage amid efforts by the Trump White House to portray increasingly large and peaceful protests by a rainbow coalition as a riotous mob of “killers, terrorists, arsonists, anarchists, thugs, hoodlums, looters, ANTIFA&others,” as one Trump tweet suggested.
In fact, most of the protesters are young, idealistic, and peaceful, and they often have to contain the few hotheads, including infiltrators, who indulge in arson and violence.
“I hope that my 13-year-old son grows up to be just as amazing as they (the protesters) are,” Dubey said on Tuesday, as scores of reporters and television cameras descended on Swann Street to capture the drama.”I hope that they continue to fight and I hope that they go out there today peacefully, as they did yesterday, and not blink because our country needs them more than ever right now.”