Gan Golan, of Los Angeles, dressed as the "Master of Degree," holds a ball and chain representing his college loan debt, as several groups including the Peoples Uprisings, October2011 Coalition, and Occupy DC, "occupy" Freedom Plaza in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011. The groups held signs against war and "corporate greed." (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Freedom Plaza will stay Occupied -- at least through the end of February. And the Occupy movement is planning to ramp up their demonstrations in the new year.
The protesters were granted a new permit by the National Park Service, allowing them to stay camped out near the White House from Jan. 1 through Feb. 28, the Washington Post reported.
Applicants who listed McPherson Square as their address also filed a permit to "Occupy Congress" on Jan. 17. The paperwork requested permission to demonstrate peacefully on the National Mall, "including holding signs and group speaking."
"We expect an influx of people from all over the country in January," Kelly Canavan, an volunteer at the McPherson encampment, told Roll Call. In addition to the Jan. 17 event, Canavan said the group is planning to "Occupy the Courts" on Jan. 20 and will hold another big effort on Jan. 24.
Meanwhile, the union that represents D.C. police said crime in the city has increased since the Occupiers arrived because neighborhood patrols have been reassigned to monitor the protests, reported the Washington Examiner.
* D.C. Ward 8 Council member Marion Barry recently said he encouraged "everyone to run" for the April primary, including his former spokeswoman, Natalie Williams, who's planning to run against her former boss. But, now he has a different tune. "Natalie Williams just recently moved into the Ward and knows very little about it," Barry said in a news release Wednesday, reported the Washington City Paper's Loose Lips.
* Texas Gov. Rick Perry has filed an emergency order asking for his name to be put on the Virginia primary ballot, and candidate Newt Gingrich, who was also left off the ballot, says he's the victim of fraud.
* Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley appointed former Rep. Frank M. Kratovil Jr., who served one term in Congress, to the district court in Queen Anne's County, the Baltimore Sun reported.
* With the dismissal of a challenge to Maryland's redistricting map that made his district more competitive, 10-term Republican U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett says he's ramping up his fundraising efforts, WTOP reported.
* Saying it was "time to recognize political realities," Tim Donner dropped out of the Virginia race for the Republican Senate nomination. In a statement, the owner of a television production company said "virtually the entire political establishment from the governor on down" supports frontrunner and former Sen. George Allen, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.