Occupy Wall Street has company in Washington, D.C.
The capital's version of the Occupy Wall Street demonstration has been held in Washington’s McPherson Square since Oct. 1. Known as Occupy DC, the event has drawn about 10 to 50 people a day, with protesters attending a 6 p.m. meeting and waving signs at people as they leave their K Street offices.
Lacy MacAuley, who has been participating in the Occupy DC demonstration, said she thinks many of the protesters in that group will move to the Stop the Machine demonstration.
The goals of the protests are similar. Occupy Wall Street has been decrying corporate greed and various social ills; Stop the Machine will push for a drastic reduction in corporate influence in the nation and, according to the group’s website, support “peace and social, economic and environmental justice.”
The Stop the Machine event will take place at Washington’s Freedom Plaza, on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and Congress. Planners hope to attract thousands of people.
The event, which will include speeches and concerts, has been planned for months, said co-organizer Kevin Zeese.
“We see this as a synergistic thing,” Zeese said. Referring to Occupy Wall Street, he said: “We’re glad they broke the ground and got everyone interested in this movement.”
Zeese said he hoped the Stop the Machine protesters would emerge from the demonstration with a “foundation of areas to work on.” The goal, he said, is “the beginning of changing where power is concentrated in this country.” The organizers have permits to protest through Sunday, but they say they might try to stay much longer.
Meanwhile, a coalition of liberal groups -- including MoveOn.org -- demonstrated from Monday through Wednesday for “Jobs Not Cuts” at Capitol Hill.
Those protests featured environmental advocate and former Obama White House green-jobs advisor Van Jones, who called on liberals to create their own version of the tea party movement by making tough, clear demands on the government to return power to the people.
A press release for the rally said the event was part of a wave of protests called the American Dream Movement. But Zeese said his protest would resist affiliating with any political group.
-- Alexa Vaughn in Washington, D.C.
Photo: Protesters meet a few blocks from the White House in Washington at the beginning of the Occupy DC demonstration on Saturday. Credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters