Occupy D.C. protesters mark first anniversary with demonstrations
By Annie Gowen, Peter Hermann and Maggie Fazeli Fard,
This story has been updated.
About 50 or so members of the Occupy D.C. movement took to the streets Monday morning around K Street NW — the country’s lobbying mecca — to protest what they see as the undue influence of corporate money in politics.
It was the first anniversary of the movement locally, after a small band of protesters took up residence in McPherson Square in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement last fall. Many lived in the park for four months until their campsite was evicted Feb. 4.
According to the Occupy D.C. Web site, Monday’s protests commenced a week-long series of demonstrations. Protesters had planned to gather at 7 a.m. in Farragut Square, then begin their march, disrupting the morning commute on K Street, where many lobbying firms are located.
For the most part, the protests were peaceful. The group sang, chanted and moved through the streets, trailed by police and Homeland Security escorts, stopping at corporate lobbying offices around downtown.
“It’s good to be part of the larger group, see faces you haven’t seen in a long time,” said Todd Waters, 29, a student from College Park.
Still, a few protesters appeared to be trying to agitate police. Marchers, some whose faces were covered with handkerchiefs, appeared to try to throw off the police escort by quickly changing routes, but officers quickly caught up.
About 10 a.m. on Connecticut Avenue just south of M Street, one protester stood in front of a marked D.C. police pickup and stuck a long sign in front, to prevent the driver from moving forward.
He held the pole at an angle under the vehicle’s front bumper, and when the officer inched forward the pole snapped. The protester then made an obscene gesture, prompting the officer to leap out of the truck. A brief showdown ended when the officer got back into the vehicle and the group restarted its march.
Later, on 15th Street between K and L streets, a police cruiser ran over another protest pole, and marchers reacted with a profanity-laced chant directed at officers.