WASHINGTON — Hundreds of anti-Wall Street protesters and union activists on Monday began to arrive in Washington for a campaign in which they aim to “Take back the Capitol from corporate control.”
A week of demonstrations and sit-ins are planned “in the name of the 99 percent,” that the anti-corporate movement says has been sidelined as lobbyists have bought up the US political system for the benefit of big business.
As “Occupy” camps across the United States have been broken up by city authorities, starting with New York’s “Occupy Wall Street” movement, Washington’s “Occupy DC” has become the epicenter of such protests.
Around 3,000 people are expected in around 15 tents deemed the “People’s Camp” on the National Mall near the massive white dome of the US Capitol, the home of Congress, also near the White House.
“Take back the Capitol” says on its website that thousands of people have signed up for the event, including unemployed and underemployed people from across the United States, community activists, unions, and “Occupy” activists.
“There is an economic crisis in the US; we have 14 million unemployed people, corporations are getting fatter and richer, they are not creating jobs, they are not paying their fair share of taxes,” said Renee Asher, a spokesman with the SEIU, a service sector union.
“This is all about the 99 percent and the one percent inequality in this country which has never been worse. We need Congress to represent the 99 percent, and not the one percent,” she added.
On Wednesday an event will be held on K Street, where many lobbying companies have their offices, in the center of the US capital. On Thursday, protesters plan to hold a day of prayers and speeches from religious leaders.
Organizers say they are also preparing to welcome “Occupy” activists from now discontinued camps in cities such as Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas, New Orleans, Oakland and Portland, where protesters have been evicted.