Protesters arrested after attempt to storm Justice Department


Protesters sit in front of a police barricade in front of the U.S. Department of Justice during a rally against big banks and home foreclosures in Washington, D.C., onMonday. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

District and federal law enforcement officials arrested 17 people Monday after protesters opposing foreclosures attempted to storm the entrances of the Justice Department.

About 100 protesters with groups called the Home Defenders League and Occupy Our Homes marched on the building about 2 p.m. Some set up tents on the lawn and sidewalk while others ran up to the building’s Constitution Avenue entrance.

According to D.C. police, 17 people were arrested. Ann C. Wilcox, an attorney who represents protesters, said several were tased during the scuffle. A D.C. police spokeswoman said D.C. police were not involved in the tasing. Federal law enforcement officials on the scene declined comment.

Police also closed Constitution Avenue for much of the afternoon, leading to traffic backups downtown.

As of 4:45 pm, about 50 protesters were standing in the street or sitting on the sidewalk, and police were preparing for more arrests. Officers equipped with crowd dispersal agents guarded the entrance to the Justice Department. A police helicopter circled overhead.

Jason Collette, a protester, said Attorney General  Eric Holder is the target of the protest.

“A couple months ago, Eric Holder said banks are too big to prosecute,” Collette said. “We think that is fundamentally wrong.”

Tim Craig is The Post’s bureau chief in Pakistan. He has also covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and within the District of Columbia government.
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