The Occupy Wall Street protest that started in New York City to call attention to perceived corporate greed and government corruption has spread to dozens of other cities during the past two weeks, reaching Washington this week.
Occupy D.C. demonstrators will gather at Freedom Plaza at noon Thursday.
Dozens of them have been taking part in peacekeeping training at a local church, working in groups devising ways to get their message out while avoiding violence and confrontations with police.
“We see the problem in the United States as corporatism,” organizer Kevin Zeese said. “It affects every issue. We see it in health care, where the health insurance industry controls things; big finance, where Wall Street controls things. We want to see the end of corporate rule and the shifting of power to the people.”
Some of the demonstrators are sleeping in McPherson Square and eating donated food. The demonstrators include young and old, people who have come long distances and others from the area, union members fighting to keep their jobs and unemployed people struggling to find work.
"As a senior citizen, I'm asking not to cut Social Security and Medicare,” said Brenda Kelly Nelum, of Woodbridge, Va.
"I've been living in DC all my life,” Juanita Alexander said. “It's hard for me to find a job. I can't feed my family. I've got four children. I’ve got a good resume. I've been looking and looking and looking and looking, and they say they'll call me, don't call them.”
Thursday, she’ll call upon Congress.