The Washington Times - April 5, 2011, 03:22PM

A pack of vocal protesters barged into the D.C. Council chamber Tuesday with a gift for Ward 4 Democrat Muriel Bowser.

Walking straight up to the dais while the Council was in session, they presented Ms. Bowser with a bag of pale yellow ping-pong balls with “frowny faces,” a tongue-in-cheek play on the Wal-Mart logo, to voice their opposition to a plan that would bring the box store to a site at Georgia and Missouri avenues in Northwest.


The sudden disruption caused several council members to ask them to stop, while a few ping-pong balls bounced along the Council chamber floor. Security guards escorted the group out of the John A. Wilson Building.

The dozen or so protesters identified themselves as Ward 4 residents who think Ms. Bowser considers the Wal-Mart plan “a laughing matter.”

One of them, Brenda Speaks, said the plan “would totally destroy the fabric of the neighborhood.” Another protester, said the intersection near the proposed Wal-Mart site is already fraught with problems and cannot handle delivery trucks and increased volume.

After the council hearing, Ms. Bowser said she represented the entire ward, and not several attention-seeking residents.

“I think it was a little bizarre,” she said.

Ms. Bowser said people have the right to protest, but they should follow the rules instead of interrupting a legislative body. Their actions, she said, may highlight the need for tighter security at Council meetings.