Sunday, December 18, 2011

Occupy Wall Street gives birth to Occupy DC

Washington: After Occupy Wall Street suppresed last month as officials shut down Occupy encampments across the country, here came the turn of Philadelphia and Baltimore as protesters streamed into the District, eager to join the movement in the nation’s capital, which has so far enjoyed protection from supportive local and national police.

The protesters who took over two D.C. parks in October have mostly existed peaceably — setting up elaborate kitchen tents, trucking in portable toilets and even getting police escorts for their marches. But the goodwill has begun to evaporate, as protests have become more contentious and some local leaders have begun turning on them. 

The pressure intensified last week, when a congressional oversight committee launched an investigation into whether the National Park Service was allowing the Occupiers to camp on federal parkland illegally and even City’s mayor Vincent C Gray was arrested which increased the government frustrations. 

The Washington Post reported that, with the shift in the city’s attitude, winter approaching, the possibility of congressional hearings and out-of-town protesters continuing to arrive, the Occupy D.C. movement is at a crossroads. Spokesmen for both the McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza Occupy camps have vowed to stay on, but there’s a real question of whether the city and federal governments have had enough.

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