Protesters take over K Street in Washington

Dec 12, 2011 12:00 AM

by Emily Crockett

Protesters from both the “Take Back the Capitol” demonstrations and Occupy DC shut down K Street -- the Washington home of lobbyists -- earlier in a large demonstration against the influence of corporate money in politics. But after demonstrators violated city codes by blocking intersections, officers arrested at least 62 protesters.
Take Back the Capitol protesters -- more than 2,000 in all -- marched towards K Street in several colour-coded groups from their temporary camp on the National Mall, making stops along the way outside big banks like Wells Fargo. Meanwhile, roughly 100 Occupy DC protesters marched from their camp at McPherson Square and demonstrated outside K Street lobbying firms along the way.

While the two groups are not affiliated, they’ve expressed solidarity with one another. And they have similar goals but sometimes different methods -- Take Back the Capitol, for instance, is more centralized and overly political, sponsored by a broad coalition of progressive groups under the American Dream Movement banner.
The march across the city was initially orderly and lawful. Team leaders with Take Back the Capitol wore fluorescent orange vests and flanked the marchers, ensuring they stayed safe and kept on the sidewalk. When the marchers arrived at K Street, the disparate groups from both movements converged, taking over the intersection of K Street and 16th Street. Shortly after, the road-blocking civil disobedience -- which prompted dozens of arrests -- took over several intersections of K Street.

On 14th Street, after the bulk of the Take Back the Capitol protesters marched back to the National Mall, more than 100 protesters blocked off the intersection with K Street from all four directions using tents, human chains, banners, furniture, and overturned newspaper boxes.
“How could you do that to The Onion?” one police officer joked, moving the metal distribution box back to the sidewalk.

The situation grew tense when horse-mounted police moved in to control the crowd. Police officers took down a table that protesters were using as a blockade while one woman remained standing on it. One arrested protester was dragged on his back by four police officers.
Some protesters barely got out of the way of the horses as they moved through, and one woman was reportedly hospitalized when a horse stepped on her foot.

Emily Crockett is a staff writer with Campus Progress. Follow her on Twitter @emilycrockett.

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