Hundreds Of Occupy Protesters Rally At Capitol

WASHINGTON (AP) — Several hundred protesters affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement converged on the West Lawn of the Capitol Tuesday to decry the influence of corporate money in politics and voice myriad other grievances.

Organizers had touted the rally, known as Occupy Congress, as the largest national gathering of Occupy protesters to date and secured a permit that would have allowed up to 10,000 people to participate. By mid-afternoon, the protest appeared to have fallen far short of those goals.

Still, participants said they were optimistic about the strength of the Occupy movement, which began in September when protesters pitched tents in a lower Manhattan park. The movement has since spread to dozens of cities, including Washington. While many cities have moved to evict the protesters, the National Park Service has allowed encampments to remain in two public squares near the White House.

“I’m encouraged,” said Jon Wynn, 63, of Snow Camp, N.C., who traveled to Washington to attend the protest and visit friends. “There’s energy here, even if there’s not a whole lot of people.”

The protest comes amid numerous polls that show 84 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing, near an all-time low.

While the rally was mostly peaceful, there were some scuffles between police and protesters along walkways leading to the Capitol. By mid-afternoon Tuesday, four people had been arrested, U.S. Capitol Police said — one for assaulting a police officer and three for crossing a police line.

The Occupy movement includes activists who want to change government from within and anarchists who oppose all government. Tension between the two camps was evident at Tuesday’s gathering, where some taunted police while others participated in earnest group discussions about how to influence their elected representatives.

Anne Filson, 71, a retired teacher from Madison, N.H., said she was disappointed by the turnout and said Occupy protesters needed to stick to their core message of narrowing the gap between rich and poor. Protesters did not help the cause by carrying profane signs and antagonizing police, she said.

“What I regret about some of the Occupy movements is the dilution of the message,” Filson said. “A lot of Occupy people have to realize that they’re being counterproductive.”

Later Tuesday, small groups of protesters entered House office buildings in a bid to meet with individual members of Congress. Participants also planned to march to the Supreme Court and the White House.

It was not clear whether the out-of-town protesters would swell the ranks of the two Occupy encampments in Washington. Rachel Marcotte and Taft Clark, 23, planned to return to their tent at Occupy New Haven in Connecticut, which has been compromised by snow.

“We’re told that it’s still up, but it’s not looking good,” Clark said. “We have some work to do when we get back.”

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Jerry Frey
  • wounded defecators project

    Liberal, neo-conservative, useful idiots and critics of Assembly, and frankly haters of truth and freedom, exist by feeding on the entrepreneurial, middle class.
    Which explains why the nation’s respect and admiration are with Occupy and with the Anonymous, Wikileaks and Ruckus brigades. Thank you heroes for your fvcking service, and congrats on Man o’ the Year award.
    For they know, proletariat’s bad children and parasites, sic Zionist apparachik of the Fed, IMF and World Bank, will never admonish the Crony Capitalism feeding their addictions and narcissism. A special interest needful and earnest of all the hearty, steamy excrement patriots can provide. Sh!t and p!ss on, noble flea-baggers and pyros, or let the streets flow with blood.

  • Dr. Joseph Muscente

    What I find appalling is that 400 thousand people march to the Supreme Court yesterday for a pro-life rally and CBS isn’t there covering it because it doesn’t meet their liberal agenda.

    But a 1000 liberals gather at the Capitol and CBS makes it their point to be there.

    Good journalists cover all stories, one’s they agree with and one’s they don’t. Its Journalism 101.

    The fact that CBS wasn’t there, confirms for me that I did the right thing by marching. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

    Dr. Joseph Muscente
    Yonkers, New York

blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow and Like Us
Best Of CBS Washington

Listen Live