In an editorial today entitled "Make way for the occupiers"* the Washington Post praised the National Park Service for extending a permit for the left-wing protesters behind the End the Machine protests at Freedom Plaza that briefly shut down the Air & Space Museum last Saturday after a security incident.
"If any city should go the extra mile to accommodate free expression, it's Washington, D.C.," the Post noted, before getting to the real reason why the paper is glad the Park Service gave protesters a permit lasting until December 30. The group could become violent otherwise, the paper's editorial board hinted:
Since Thursday, hundreds of protesters aligned with the Oct. 6 Coalition and other groups decrying war, economic disparities, money in politics and other causes have occupied the Pennsylvania Avenue plaza just east of the White House. A permit for the protest expired Monday, and park officials, no doubt mindful of the ugly scenes of like-minded protesters being arrested in other cities, sought to reach some agreement with the group.
After recounting and partially excusing the short-lived Hart Senate Office Building "occupation" and Air & Space incident, the editorial board concluded that so far the occupiers have been good neighbors, the public don't seem to mind and as such "the protesters should be given their space."
It's hard to imagine the Washington Post would be this tolerant if the camped-out protesters were Tea Party folks or Ron Paul devotees calling on Congress to "end the Fed."
*the WashingtonPost.com headline was markedly different: "For Freedom Plaza protesters, freedom reigns."