More Protesters Gathering on the National Mall

Group Our DC says they'll have thousands on the march

Monday, Dec 5, 2011  |  Updated 6:47 PM EDT
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Chris Gordon reports on Occupy DC's plans after police took down a shelter this weekend.

Chris Gordon

Chris Gordon reports on Occupy DC's plans after police took down a shelter this weekend.

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Police Cherry-Pick Occupy Protesters

Police in D.C. arrested Occupy DC campers in McPherson Square after a wooden shed was erected Sunday.
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As winter approaches, protests continue to simmer around Washington, D.C.

Local political action group Our DC plans on launching several days of marching and speeches starting Monday night at the National Mall.  Together with national partners, the group is hosting a gathering of thousands called "Take Back the Capitol."

"The Capitol is the people's house, and we're here to declare an economic emergency for the 99 percent," said John Butler, of Our DC.

Our DC has been campaigning for more job opportunities for D.C. residents.  Over the summer, the group occupied the Capitol Hill office of Sen. Mitch McConnell, and this past month, the group, together with the Occupy DC movement, demonstrated on the Key Bridge during the afternoon rush hour.

News4's Chris Gordon reported the group is putting up tents between the Capitol and the Washington Monument on the National Mall Monday, in preparation for three days of demonstrations.  The group said they do not plan on sleeping there, but they will be assembling.  Our DC said they plan on gathering 2,000 to 4,000 unemployed residents, members of organized labor, and representatives from the religious community.  Organizers said that local churches have offered the demonstrators a place to sleep at night.

Demonstrators in Freedom Plaza that have been camped out since October got a visit Monday from musician Jackson Browne, who played some tunes and expressed solidarity with the group.

"A life-long friend of mine is here," he said. "My Goddaughter's here, and I made up my mind to come here as soon as I could to visit them, and I've seen this tree, this peace tree as they spent weeks making it here."

Browne has been on an occupy tour: he played Occupy Wall Street three days ago.

On Sunday, the mostly peaceful coexistence between political demonstrators and D.C. law enforcement was tested when campers in McPherson Square, the locus of the Occupy DC movement, put up a wood and plywood shed.  The structure was ordered removed by Park Police, but officers had to arrest 31 before the structure finally came down.  Six demonstrators had to be tied up and lifted from the wooden shed with a cherry picker.

On Monday, that camp was much more tranquil.  Demonstrators had worked to clean up some of the mess and disorder left after Sunday's arrests.

"Because we don't want people to have the wrong idea that we are not cleaning up behind ourselves," said Loraine Joiner, of Occupy DC.

Nevertheless, Occupy campers told News4 they still want to build a wooden shed in the park, but they said they'd work with Park Police to come up with an acceptable design.

"We'll have another General Assembly tonight and we'll come up with a proposal, several proposals, which we'll discuss, and then we'll have a consensus or we will disagree with the proposal and we will decide where we will go from there," said John Zangas, of Occupy DC. "Obviously we need a plan for a structure because the weather's getting worse."

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