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Afternoon Read: A Day of Protest for D.C.

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All eyes are on D.C. this afternoon as the nation looks to see if the Occupy D.C. movement’s protest, "Occupy Congress," lives up to its hype.

Protesters are hoping today becomes the largest gathering of Occupy activists around the country.

Today is the opening day of Congress, and participants say they are protesting the influence of corporate money in politics and plan to show the House of Representatives what real democracy looks like.

At 11 a.m, The Nation’s George Zornick said that attendance in front of the Capitol building was “paltry.” By the early afternoon there were a few hundred protesters on site.

The Washington Post reports that at least six people have been arrested so far.

Throughout the day, the protesters have been conducting teach-ins on political issues that they say Congress won’t address. The events will culminate at 6 p.m. with an Occupy D.C. rally and a silent vigil for D.C. voting rights.

The protest is being livestreamed here.

Earlier in the day, 14 people were arrested in front of the Supreme Court during a protest against the use of the death penalty in the U.S.

Today’s protests were timed to coincide with the 35th anniversary of the execution of Gary Gilmore, the first person executed under the Supreme Court's upholding of the death penalty, according to The Associated Press.

* The Baltimore Sun reports that Sen. Jim Brochin is considering challenging Gov. O’Malley’s legislative redistricting plan in court if the map is not changed.

A Baltimore County Democrat, Brochin’s new district includes patches of some predominately Republican rural areas that extend to the Pennsylvania border.

“Brochin contends he was squeezed out by the efforts of O'Malley and legislative leaders to preserve some of the voting strength of Baltimore city, which lost population since the last census. Under the governor's map, Baltimore, which now has six full senatorial districts, would share one Senate district with the county,” The Sun reports.

The General Assembly has 45 days from the start of the legislative session before the governor’s redistricting plan takes effect automatically.

* An emergency bill to limit the number of marijuana dispensaries and grow centers allowed per ward in the District was passed through District Council today.

The decision to cap the number of dispensaries came after the District received more than 20 applications from growers wanting to open up pot factories in Ward 5.

Each ward -- including Ward 5 -- will now be limited to six dispensaries and grow centers.

Mayor Vincent Gray, however, was against the bill, arguing that it would delay the implementation of medical marijuana dispensaries in the area, The Washington Post reported.

According to the Post, Grey said in a letter that he is “committed to addressing the legitimate concerns of Ward 5 residents,” but that the bill would “further delay implementation of this important program which is necessary to assist individuals who suffer with chronic debilitating pain."

Read more about the Council's agreement here.

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