January 18, 2012 by staff
Occupy Congress, Seconverged on the West Lawn of the Capitol on Tuesday to decry the influence of corporate money in politics and voice myriad other grievances.veral hundred protesters affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement
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. U.S. Capitol Police said they arrested four people – one for allegedly assaulting a police officer and three accused of 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.
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.
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