One protester told CNN that the crowd walked away from the White House on Monday night and took refuge in a residential neighborhood where police received them.
The protester, who sought to identify himself only as Mecca, told CNN that the protest was peaceful and that people were just trying to figure out what to do.
“I guess someone ordered, and they just started pushing us, spraying cats, trampling people. That’s when everyone started panicking,” the 22-year-old senior colleague said.
He looked around and saw his friend running up the stairs to a nearby home and a man waving to protesters to enter.
“I just ran towards the stairs, I ran up the stairs and just started to get in as fast as possible,” Mecca said. “I didn’t know at the time if it was the right decision, but I guess it was.”
He said he looked out the window and saw more police officers than he could count on and that many people were arrested outside.
Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said on Tuesday that none of the protesters inside the house had been arrested and that officers “had been in constant communication with the homeowner all evening”.
Newsham said 300 people were arrested Monday night, including 194 in the area around Rahul Dubey’s home.
He said he was shouting “come in, come in the house” for about 10 minutes.
Dubey told the WJLA that about 70 protesters got inside and that there was “pandemonium and mayhem” for about an hour and a half as they tried to settle into them and help people sprayed with paprika.
CNN was unable to contact Dubey for comment.
Mecca told CNN she could not sleep Monday night and that police had tried several times to force protesters to go outside.
He said Dubey was able to deliver pizza at one point, and some community members brought food as well.
Becca Thimmesch lives about two blocks away from Dubey and said she and three other people stayed in his chair overnight to observe police activity and report to protesters.
She said they also worked on organizing a ride to get the youth back home after curfew was lifted.
“Then around five, with an hour of curfew, community members started appearing left and right, bringing food and water, cleaning supplies and their cars and offering people to take away,” Thimmesch said.
She said they had more volunteers than they needed when the protesters went outside, so a lot of them stayed and helped them clean up.
Thimmesch said she saw several other residents on the street let protesters into their homes.
“There’s a global pandemic right now and we’re told,‘ Don’t let people into your house, don’t share space with people, ’” she said. “And you know, these random people did what I consider a huge sacrifice, to try to ensure the safety of young people they didn’t know.”
Dubey told the WJLA that he considered the families of the young protesters and that he was relieved to receive texts and messages that everyone in the house was safe.
“I hope my 13-year-old son grows up as amazing as they do,” he said.
“I hope they continue to fight and I hope they come out there peacefully today, as they did yesterday, and not blink because they need our country, and they need you and everyone more than ever at this time.”
CNN’s Lauren Koenig contributed to this story.
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