- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 6, 2008

The spontaneous outbursts of cheering, horn-honking and flag-waving Tuesday night continued long after the last polls had closed and Sen. Barack Obama had been declared president.

The largest crowd in the District gathered in the historic U Street neighborhood - the enduring center of black nightlife that had been decimated by riots 40 years ago.

Traffic along U Street Northwest, from 10th Street to 14th Street, remained at a standstill until about 2 a.m. However, police said the crowds that spilled out of clubs and into the streets were boisterous but peaceful.

“There were no arrests, no melees or anything like that,” said Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Traci Hughes.

Miss Hughes also said the department had prepared for the possibility of spontaneous celebrations or demonstrations but did not increase patrols, instead sending all available officers in each police district to respond to the celebrations.

Battalion Chief Kenneth Crosswhite, a fire department spokesman, said the agency’s operations center was active but received no reports of injuries or intentionally set fires.

“We had no complications,” he said.

Hundreds of student from Howard University, a historically black college on the edge of the U Street corridor, cheered and chanted “Yes, we did,” and sang in the intermittent rain in honor of Mr. Obama, the country’s first black president.

Outside the White House, a large crowd paraded on Pennsylvania Avenue after midnight with drums, balloons and a life-size cutout of Mr. Obama. Secret Service and U.S. Park Police officers stood guard nearby, though no arrests were reported.

In the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, near George Washington University, sleeping residents were awakened by young people chanting “Obama!” shortly after his win was projected. Fireworks were heard on Capitol Hill and in Northeast. Pennsylvania Avenue in Southeast was also packed with revelers, many of whom were wearing Obama gear.

In Richmond, the city’s Fan District was closed for celebrants who numbered more than 2,000.

As the celebration neared an end in the early morning hours, hundreds sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

There were similar scenes across Virginia. In Virginia Beach, hundreds of people at a hotel hugged, cheered and wept at news of Mr. Obama’s election as president.

In Baltimore, hundreds celebrated Mr. Obama’s victory into the early morning in the Charles Village neighborhood.

Police spokesman Sterling Clifford said about 300 to 400 people blocked traffic and the entrance to Union Memorial Hospital entrance in a celebration that resulted in 15 arrests.

Mr. Clifford said officers responding to complaints from neighbors near 34th Street and Johns Hopkins University tried to break up the crowd at about 2 a.m., and a student liaison arrived with a loudspeaker to try to get people to disperse. He said most people responded to the instructions, but those who didn’t were arrested.

Mr. Clifford said the 15 people were arrested for disorderly conduct, including one stunned by a police stun gun, were released.

cThis article is based in part on wire service reports.



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