(WASHINGTON) — While the Obamas Tuesday evening were dining at one of D.C.’s finest steak houses, Occupy D.C. protesters gathered in front of the White House and, for a couple of hours, drew dozens of police cars to Pennsylvania Avenue and briefly kept the press on lockdown inside the building.
The cause of the commotion is unclear but it may have been a smoke bomb or firecracker hurled by a protester over the White House fence from Pennsylvania Avenue.
When the press covering the president’s dinner trip Tuesday evening returned to the White House they were then told they could not leave the building. The Secret Service told the reporters they were keeping them there while they investigated a “smoke bomb” that protesters may have thrown over the fence and onto the White House grounds.
Shortly after 8pm, @OccupyDCKst tweeted, “Someone just chucked something over the fence, it’s on fire. People are saying its a firecracker.”
U.S. Secret Service just told the ABC affiliate in Washington, WJLA, that it was indeed a smoke bomb. The Obamas weren’t at the White House at the time of the incident.
For some time Tuesday evening, the Secret Service had shut down Pennsylvania Avenue — beyond the normal restrictions in that part of Pennsylvania Avenue is limited to pedestrians only.
The Obama’s evening out was in celebration of first lady Michelle Obama’s 48th birthday. She was celebrating Tuesday night with her husband and close friends at BLT Steak in Washington, just blocks from the White House.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Thom Patterson, CNN
Lisa Respers France and Brian Stelter, CNN
Chris Isidore, CNN