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Posted at 02:22 PM ET, 12/09/2011

Occupy D.C. protesters charged with assault on counter-protester

Two Occupy D.C. protesters in McPherson Square were charged with assault Friday after they allegedly ripped a sign out of the hands of a counter-protester, according to the U.S. Park Police.

For the second consecutive day, a man has held signs stating “get a job” and “we want R Park back” in front of the encampment at McPherson Square on K Street NW.

According to police, the protesters were arrested after they ripped the signs out of man’s hands Friday afternoon.

“They didn’t hit me, just knocked out the sign,” said Joe Bellows, 40. “It’s been two and half months. Why should they be allowed to be here?”

Police did not immediately identify the people arrested. After the arrests, three Park Police officers took positions near Bellows as he continued his protest.

Meanwhile, four Occupy D.C. protesters stood next to Bellows holding a sign saying “I’m a D Bag” and another that included an expletive.

“If he wouldn’t have had my friends arrested, I wouldn’t counter protest,”said one of the four who stood near Bellows. “There are 300 of us and only one of him. We are the 99 percent. I don’t think this guy understands the job market.”

But as Bellows held up his ripped “Get a job” sign Friday afternoon, several downtown office workers stopped by to offer him encouragement.

One man even left him lunch. A few asked the Park Police why they are allowing the protesters to remain in the square.

“Call your Representative or Congressman,”one officer told a man who asked police to remove the group from the park. “This goes above our pay grade.”

The week has been tumultuous at times for D.C. protesters. More than 70 people were arrested Wednesday as protesters blocked streets, marched and formed human chains.

This post has been updated.

By  |  02:22 PM ET, 12/09/2011

Categories:  The District

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