Just outside an exit gate from the Inauguration Day festivities, a group of protesters laid across a street on Capitol Hill to protest President Barack Obama's controversial use of drone strikes abroad.
About ten people covered themselves in white sheets with red paint splattered like blood, and pretended to be dead. They blocked about half of the intersection at C Street NE and Delaware Avenue NE—the middle of one of the few streets where inauguration revelers could leave. They had cutout photos of drone victims next to them.
One protester shouted to police and the crowd that John Brennan's nomination to become chief of the Central Intelligence Agency should be blocked because of his involvement in the use of drone strikes.
The scene was inflammatory, with police surrounding the protesters and threatening to arrest those on the ground and several bystanders. Some of the protesters held signs while others yelled that drone strikes were killing children.
Police eventually lifted the protestors out of the street one by one. Several went back on the street moments later, but police did not appear to arrest any of them.
The Obama administration has used the strategy of targeted killings of those associated with al-Qaeda or other terrorist organizations, often carried out using remotely controlled planes, or drones. In 2011, three American citizens were killed in drone strikes: Al-Qaeda operative Anwar Al-Awlaki, his teenage son Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki, and Samir Khan, publisher of an anti-American magazine.
The Justice Department is withholding material about the use of drones in targeted killings.
A woman shouts at police and the crowd Monday during a protest of drone strikes outside the inauguration ceremonies on Capitol Hill. Photo by Todd Ruger