WASHINGTON — On the night before March on Washington, members of the GOP sat on the South Lawn awaiting President Donald Trump's official renomination speech to close out the final night of the Republican National Convention. Just outside, hundreds of protesters gathered in the spot that has become the epicenter of racial justice protests in D.C. since the death of George Floyd: Black Lives Matter Plaza.
Several groups splintered off, with some marching down Constitution Avenue, while others headed towards the entrance to the South Lawn where a fireworks show followed the president's RNC speech.
On Constitution Avenue, the vibe was very much a party, and a mobile party at that as a Go-Go truck made its way down the avenue, followed by a school bus outfitted with a basketball hoop on the front for participants to shoot a few hoops while they marched.
Standing at the fence leading to the South Lawn, a smaller group gathered determined to make a lot of noise. WUSA9 reporter John Henry said everyone he observed had noisemakers and they were prepared to "drown out" Trump's speech wrapping up the RNC.
As the president began speaking, Henry said the crowd began enthusiastically shaking their noisemakers and setting off their own fireworks.
ShutDownDC and an organization called Purpose Party organized most of the demonstrations outside the White House.
The president concluded his speech around 11:30 p.m.
Following the speech, crowds were still gathered around the east side of the White House blocking a bus entrance.
WUSA9's John Henry reports at least one person was taken into custody following a clash between police and protesters after midnight, while some members of Congress were leaving the White House.
Crowds remained in the area until into the early hours of Friday morning.
Crowds eventually dispersed by early Friday morning ahead of the March on Washington.Between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, eight arrests were made, according to Metropolitan Police Department data.