Occupy DC tries to recapture anger of last winter

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Local,DC,Crime,Scott McCabe,Naomi Jagoda

Dozens of people took to the streets of Washington on Monday to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy DC movement that disrupted the city last winter.

The celebration was far tamer than the marches and demonstrations of October 2011 to February 2012, when the protests resulted in the tent-city takeover of federal parks, the arrests of dozens of dissidents and the annoyance of downtown travelers.

(See a photo gallery from Monday's protests)

Occupy is no longer about occupying public space; it's about educating people, protesters said Monday.

"We're here because power is no longer concentrated in the hands of the many because corporations, using lobbyists, are able to intimidate politicians with the carrots and sticks of massive campaign finance," said Brian Eister.

Morning commuters were greeted by about 60 marchers who vowed to "Storm K Street," chanting "Hey hey, ho ho, corporate greed has got to go" and "We got sold out, banks got bailed out."

Their targets were many and varied: agriculture giant Monsanto, the World Bank, the Justice Department, investment banking firm Goldman Sachs and utilities provider Pepco.

Darrel Willis, 47, said he was a U.S. Army veteran from Westminster, Md., who returned to D.C. this week to uphold the right to free speech.

"These people need veterans to stand with them and make it clear that we're not going to let the First Amendment be torn to shreds," Willis said.

John Penley, a 60-year-old Navy veteran from Asheville, N.C., said he's in D.C. to speak about the record number suicides among troops and a backlog of disability claims for veterans. He said neither presidential candidate is addressing the needs of those who served in the military.

Around noon Monday, the group gathered at Freedom Plaza, where occupiers last winter huddled in dozens of tents. The group held a refresher class on "radical tactics and anarchist theory" -- then voted on what to do next. They decided to march on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Pepco.

On the steps to the Chamber of Commerce building, which sits across from the White House off Lafayette Square, Occupy DC organizer Lacy MacAuley called the business organization the largest lobbying group in the United states.

"It's a perfect example of how money talks and they trample all over us," she said.

Twenty-two-year-old Mike G., who did not want to provide his last name, said he wanted to dispel the myth that Occupy was in town to help keep the president in office.

"I would rather die than see Obama re-elected," he said.

Willis agreed that Obama has been a disappointment: "His facade is that he is liberal, but his actions are in lock step with the previous administration."

smccabe@washingtonexaminer.com

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Author:

Scott McCabe

Staff Writer - Crime
The Washington Examiner
Author:

Naomi Jagoda

Staff reporter
The Washington Examiner