Occupy DC protesters shut down K Street
Rain-soaked Occupiers protesting the role of special interest groups and money in Washington shut down K Street Wednesday, touching a nerve with downtown offices where security was ratcheted up for the occasion.
About a thousand protesters converged at 16th and K Street NW, shutting down the major downtown intersection to traffic and several blocks in either direction - home to some of the biggest lobbying firms in town.
Police urged the crowd to clear the street and arrested at least 10 protesters, Steven Sund, commander of the D.C. Metro Police Department told Politico around 1 p.m. After an initial round of arrests, protesters stormed back into the street. Some chanted "hell no, we won't go" as police officers moved in and prepared for more arrests. Others moved newsstand boxes and used them to block the streets.
In the morning, protesters stormed the headquarters of major corporations and financial institutions including Verizon, General Electric, Capitol Tax Partners, the American Bankers Association and the financial lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford. At the ABA, extra security was put in place to prevent outsiders from using the elevators.
The American Dream Movement - a coalition of labor and progressive groups - organized the protests dubbed, "Make Wall Street Pay." Many protesters wore clothes with union logos.
SEIU, a powerful union that helped organize the K Street protests, said on its website that activists intended to "swarm K Street, the lobbying center for the world's most powerful corporations, and track down those responsible for crashing the economy and causing millions of 99%-ers to lose their jobs and homes-while failing to pay their fair share of taxes."
About 2,000 activists flooded Washington, D.C., this week to participate in the week-long "Take Back the Capitol" movement, according to a labor organizer close to the protests.
City officials warned of traffic delays throughout the day on Wednesday and urged drivers to avoid routes near K Street. Politico
K Street began to prepare for the protests earlier this week, as property management firms sent out alerts about measures being taken to gird for the flood of activists. Cafemom.com
A memo issued by Securitas security personnel warned that virtually any downtown office building in Washington could be a target on Wednesday and that protesters could use a variety of tactics to gain entrance into buildings, including dressing in business attire to walk into lobbies unnoticed. Cafemom.com
Several property management firms sent missives out to tenants detailing the security measures they were taking, including putting the buildings in 24-hour security surveillance, requiring pre-approval for visitors and suggesting firms cancel or reschedule client meetings. ramapotimes.com
Earlier in the morning, hundreds of protesters from around the country converged on Verizon's headquarters at 13th and I Street, chanting slogans like, "Whose street - our street" and "Shame on Verizon, pay your fair share." Politico
Also on Wednesday, activists aligned with the Occupy D.C. movement based in McPherson Square marched to protest the Podesta Group, one of the city's most powerful lobby shops, which has close ties to the Obama administration. Politico
Demonstrators on Tuesday staged sit-ins outside of lawmakers' offices on Capitol Hill and are planning a national prayer vigil and a march on "key congressional leaders" for Thursday. Cafemom.com
Occupy D.C. has also announced plans to march Wednesday to the White House and the U.S. Supreme Court, where activists will protest the Citizens United case that opened the floodgates to unlimited spending from corporations, unions and individuals on election advertisements. Cafemom.com