Rahul Dubey
Rahul Dubey Image Credit: Twitter

Washington: Rahul Dubey, an Indian man in Washington DC who allowed 70-odd protesters into his home where they stayed until the end of curfew, is being hailed a local hero.

Dubey, who owns a healthcare service and is a first-generation immigrant, opened his home to a number of people pinned down by the police at Swann Street in Washington DC. They had been protesting the violent murder of the African-American George Floyd on May 25 at the hands of a police officer. He died struggling, gasping for air – his last words, “I can’t breathe”, have become the rallying cry for pickets across the country calling for the end of race-driven police brutality. The incident has sparked waves of rage across the US and abroad and resulted in a number of demonstrations, some of which have turned volatile.

At 7pm on Tuesday in Washington, the protesters were flouting the rules of curfew - imposed between 7pm and 6am by Mayor Muriel Bowser on Monday -  when Dubey ushered them in even as they were chased by law enforcement. As those hit by tear gas used milk and water to find relief, the authorities waited outside to arrest them.

Dubey was quoted by various news agencies, including NPR as saying: "They unleashed sheer hell on peaceful protesters right outside my stoop. 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.”

In the hours that followed, the cops kept asking Dubey about his ‘guests’, whether they were imposing on him. Protester Thimmesch, as quoted by USA Today, recalled: "He [Dubey] kept coming out and saying, 'No, no I've invited these young people in…police were trying to invent exigent circumstances to enter the premises.”

When the protesters left the next morning, they lauded the Indian who had fed and sheltered them through the storm. Dubey merely called his actions necessary. He told ABC 7 news that he hopes his “13-year-old son grows up to be just as amazing as they are."