Occupy D.C. Protesters March Again in Washington Against Evictions
Tom Ramstack – AHN News Legal Correspondent
Washington, D.C., United States (AHN) – Demonstrators marched from their base camp near the White House in Washington, D.C. Monday to a landlord-tenant administrative court just over a mile away.
Unlike protests in Rome during the weekend, the march was peaceful.
The numbers of Occupy D.C. protesters have been growing since they expanded from New York to Washington last month.
The demonstrators Monday protested economic policies that have kept unemployment over 9 percent for three years and resulted in numerous people losing their homes.
Other protests in the nation’s capital come and go within a day or two but the Occupy movement is gaining strength and notoriety.
Worldwide, the protesters claim at least a small presence in 900 cities.
Their trademark in Washington and New York is the small tent cities near government and financial centers, such as close to the New York Stock Exchange in New York City.
In Washington, D.C., the tents are clustered together closely in Freedom Plaza, next to the U.S. Commerce Department building and a block-and-half away from the White House.
The protest started just over two weeks ago with about 50 people.
“Yesterday, I think we counted 75,” Mariel Escobar, an unofficial spokeswoman for Occupy D.C., told All Headline News. “Now there seems to be more.”
Last week, the protesters obtained a permit to remain in Freedom Plaza through February.
So far, the protests have included only isolated standoffs and confrontations with police. A few protesters have been arrested in congressional office buildings after shouting during hearings or in hallways.
However, even members of the District of Columbia City Council have spoken out in support of the group.
“The support is great in this city,” said Escobar, a North Carolina resident who said she was self-employed. “People are joining all the time.”
The Washington protest has been joined by visitors from Alaska, Hawaii, Costa Rica and elsewhere, she said.
One of the newly-arrived demonstrators was Anthony Hassan, 55, who brought copies of the protest publication Occupied Wall Street Journal with him from New York.
He lost his job as a construction worker three years ago and still is looking for another one.
His complaint is the lobbyists and politicians who put their own finances before the rest of the population and “act like we don’t exist.”
He doubted the protests would end soon amid large-scale outrage over the nation’s faltering economy.
“We’re very hyped,” Hassan told All Headline News. The protesters also are “very upset,” he said.
Another protest march is planned for Saturday, Oct. 22, in Washington. The protesters plan to march along K Street, home to lobbying firms who represent the special interests of corporations and industries before Congress.
The Occupy D.C. protest in Freedom Plaza is getting further support from a similar group of demonstrators in nearby McPherson Square called the “Stop the Machine” movement. They also advocate issues of job creation but with a slightly stronger insistence that corporations and their executives should pay more in taxes.
The two groups have been joining efforts in recent days.
They now have tents for media, visitors and food. They also organized committees to handle press relations and concerns of minority demonstrators.
Their bathroom facilities consist largely of quick visits to nearby restaurants.
The protesters’ outrage in New York was evident in a recent edition of the Occupied Wall Street Journal. The lead story complained about the 1 percent of the U.S. population that controls a disproportionate share of the wealth.
“When people are panicked and desperate and no one seems to know what to do, that is the ideal time to push through their wish list of pro-corporate policies: privatizing education and Social Security, slashing public services, getting rid of the last constraints on corporate power,” the article said.
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