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Occupy movement takes protest to Capitol Hill

January 17, 2012|By Kathleen Hennessey
  • Hundreds of members of the Occupy movement from across the country participate in the Occupy Congress rally on Capitol Hill.
Hundreds of members of the Occupy movement from across the country participate… (Pete Marovich / MCT )

Occupy D.C. is occupying the West Front Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

Protesters marched from their encampments on K Street and near the White House on Tuesday for a rally and "teach-in" on the Hill.

Organizers said the event was aimed at drawing attention to corporate influence in government.

"The pipeline of corruption must be called out. Plain and simple, unrestrained lobbying is legalized bribery, and it cannot be allowed to continue," the group said in a statement. "Just as corporations are not people, money is not democracy."

After marching to Capitol Hill in the morning, some demonstrators visited members’ offices, and others were slated to sit in on seminars on "non-hierarchical democracy, financial transaction taxes, social networking … and D.C. statehood."

By mid-afternoon, several hundred people gathered on the Capitol lawn, some carrying signs declaring “money is not speech." Others waved flags, including the American flag, the D.C. flag and a large one with an anarchist symbol.

The protest was timed to greet lawmakers as they returned to Washington from a winter break. The House returned to session Tuesday, and the Senate is due back next week.

The Occupy movement has two encampments in Washington, one in Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue, known as Occupy Washington, D.C. The other, called Occupy D.C., has set up in a square near the lobbying corridor on K Street.

Occupy D.C. has faced increased attention recently after Washington Mayor Vincent Gray urged federal authorities to clear out the small tent city. Gray said the plaza had become a health and safety hazard.

The park is on National Park Service land.

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