Op-Ed: Michael Pendleton’s experiences at the Million Vet March Special

Posted Oct 13, 2013 by Justin King
Michael Pendleton, the man who walked from Tallahassee to Washington, D.C. to participate in the upcoming Million Mask March, shares his experiences of today’s protest in support of veterans at the Capitol.
Images captured at the Million Vet March
Images captured at the Million Vet March
Michael Pendleton
The Million Vet March protested the closing of Memorials around D.C. due to the government shutdown. The monuments were barricaded and patrolled by U.S. Park Police, which is apparently somehow less expensive in the government’s eyes than leaving the outdoor memorials open for public use. The barricades did nothing to slow down protesters. Some even carried pieces of the metal barricade more than a mile to the White House, where they were stacked outside the gates. The veterans were received well by citizens who surrounded them in support.
Veteran wearing a shirt that reads  Have you hugged a World War II veteran today?
Veteran wearing a shirt that reads "Have you hugged a World War II veteran today?"
Michael Pendleton
Pendleton attended the event in support of the veterans and to spread word of the Million Mask March on November 5th. Along with the veterans, other groups were conducting demonstrations about various causes explained Pendleton
People were protesting for their jobs back, but nobody really paid any attention to the government workers. There were other smaller causes there including a woman trying to raise awareness about Rosia Montana.
Rosia Montana is the location of a gold mining operation in Romania that will force the relocation of hundreds, destroy four mountains, and contaminate 215 million metric meters of water with cyanide.
Pendleton explained people’s reaction to the heavy law enforcement presence, including an armored vehicle and police in riot gear.
The police are overwhelmed and clearly ready to use force. They use intimidation on everyone. A massive show of power and weaponry. Most people seemed to comply with the cops, but very begrudgingly. Very vocal about the police state, socialist state, this isn’t America. Tourists said they thought American was the land of the free. Police were using intimidation tactics to force compliance. It’s very obvious.
They brought out full riot police and positioned snipers when they cleared the Capitol steps. It was a massive show of force.
He went on to tell about an encounter with law enforcement that was triggered by wearing the now famous Guy Fawkes mask that symbolizes the Anonymous collective on top of their heads like hats.
Instantly, the 'good cop' comes over and starts drilling us about if we are carrying anything, and what's the mask, and what are we doing and on and on; while 'bad cop' paced back and forth staring us down with his hand on his gun.
'Good cop' was fairly friendly, I suppose, and we went ahead and answered courteously, but briefly not offering anything additional. 'Bad cop' was menacing. Very intimidating; trying to get us to trip up on our words because he would move away while 'good cop' asked and then breathe all down us when we answered. I told them to expect me there every day until the 5th with my mask, sign and backpack, sitting on the steps waiting on my friends.
Pendleton said the officer told him not to cover his face with the mask. It is unclear what gave the officer the authority to make such a demand. Even though D.C. has a statute about wearing masks in public, it requires that the person be attempting to intimidate others, or be engaged in violence or crime in order for the statute to apply.
Images captured at the Million Vet March
Images captured at the Million Vet March
Michael Pendleton
Other prominent attendees of today’s demonstration included Sarah Palin, Senator Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee of Utah.