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Meet the hero who sheltered over 70 protestors from arrest in D.C.: 'I just opened a door'

"As soon as I heard the flash bang and the thudding of shields, I swung open my door," the 44-year-old revealed.

Meet the hero who sheltered over 70 protestors from arrest in D.C.: 'I just opened a door'
Cover Image Source: Twitter/@kikivonfreaki

Dozens of demonstrators protesting the inhumane death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer found refuge in an absolute stranger's house on Monday. What was a peaceful protest up until that point took a turn for the worse when police forces herded the protestors into a residential neighborhood where they found themselves boxed in by dozens of officers. Cornered and afraid in the narrow side street, many chanted "Let us through" even as the police inched closer from both ends. Following a tense 15-minute standoff, the officers pounced on them with pepper spray and chemical projectiles, sending the group scrambling for cover.


Rahul Dubey—a 44-year-old health-care entrepreneur—had been uneasily watching the frightening scene play out from his front steps, reports The Washington Post. As protestors scattered in a desperate search for shelter, he flung his door open without a moment's hesitation. "I was hanging on my railing yelling, 'Get in the house! Get in the house!'" he recounted. "As soon as I heard the flash bang and the thudding of shields, I swung open my door," Dubey informed The New York Times. He explained that a "tsunami" of demonstrators came barreling through his front door and began scrambled to all three floors of his home.


"They were trying three and four to get through the little doorway," he said. Speaking to CNN about the events of the night, one protestor who asked to be identified only as Meka, said: "I guess someone gave an order, and they [the police] just started pushing us, spraying mace, trampling people, and then that's when everybody started panicking."



The 22-year-old revealed that he saw his friend running up the steps into a nearby home where a man was waving for protesters to come in. "I just ran towards the steps ran up the steps and just started to get inside as quick as possible. In the moment, I didn't know if it was the right decision, but I guess it was," he said.


Dubey told NPR's All Things Considered that people flowed into his home for about 10 minutes while he yelled directions and hoped they'd all find room inside. "They unleashed sheer hell on peaceful protesters right outside my stoop," he said of the scene outside which he described as pandemonium. "I don't know, I just flung the door open. And I just kept yelling, 'Come in. Get in the house, get in the house.' Literally I can hear skulls being cracked." 


"It was a full escalator, is what it felt like — just pouring into the house. I was screaming, 'Downstairs! Outside! There's a backyard! Upstairs! There's bedrooms!'" he revealed. "There was this bottleneck, and I didn't want anyone to get crushed, including myself." Allison Lane, a protester who tweeted about the events of the night in real time, said that the protestors inside Dubey's home were coughing and doing whatever they could to ease one another's pain. They eventually calmed down and began helping one another, she recalled, while their host maintained his cool and tried his best to keep them comfortable.






"Rahul is very calm at this point. A lot of those kids were younger. I think the youngest person in the house was maybe 16. Rahul just gave him ice cream sandwiches. It was really comforting," said the 34-year-old. Meka stated that the police tried several times to get the protesters to come outside and that despite the conditions outside, Dubey managed to have pizza delivered to the house at one point and that some members of the community also brought food.


Becca Thimmesch lives about two blocks away from Dubey, revealed that she and three other people worked to organize rides to get the young people home once the newly imposed curfew lifted. "Then around five, with an hour of curfew to go, community members started showing up left and right bringing food and water and hand sanitizer and their cars and offering to take people," she said.


While his actions that evening helped save over 70 demonstrators from arrest and have made him a protest hero, Dubey humbly stated that all he did was open a door. "I didn’t do anything. I just opened a door. What they did was special. There’s nothing special about what I did."


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