Protesters plan to disrupt Senate, House offices Tuesday
(AP, ABC7) Protesters from the October 2011 movement have accepted an offer from the National Park Service to extend their permit for four months and are planning to disrupt operations of the House or Senate Tuesday.
"Stop the Machine" protesters say that they're planning a flash mob at the Hart Senate Office Building at 11:30 a.m., ABC7's Suzanne Kennedy reports.
At a meeting with protest organizers, Park Service offered the extension of their permit, which expired Monday. Under cheers, protesters voted to accept the extension.
“I expect more people will be coming down here now, they know it's safe and legal, we're going to see this grow continuously,” said Kevin Zeese, an organizer.
Organizers of the protest, called October2011 or Stop the Machine, see the offer as a victory.
“People will be here until demands are met,” a protester called Luke said.
While the dozens of sleeping tents violate the permit, so far they've been allowed to stay. Passersby stopped to check out the protest camp Monday.
“I don't really think it takes four months to get a message across, but if that's what they want to do, and that's what it takes for them to do I think that's ok,” said David Lozano of Silver Spring.
“Americans need to voice their opinions, and I think we are being listened too,” said tourist Deborah Scott.
On Tuesday, protesters want to attempt to shut down a House or Senate office building. Which one, they’ll announce to the crowd at 9 a.m.
They plan to protest inside and outside of that building, aiming to disrupt Congressional operations.
The tent city and with dozens of protesters were at Freedom Plaza Monday. Protesters are angry at corporate greed, the influence of lobbyists and politicians’ inability to address the economic crisis, among other issues.
Judy Hepner came from Hawaii with her husband. "I think we have a government that's been formed by corporations,” she said.
"I'm here to tell congress they have to start listening to the people and not just the people with money,” said Margaret Newman of New York.
The protest at Freedom Plaza began Friday with a march to the White House and down K Street. Over the weekend protestors clashed with security guards at the Air and Space Museum.
By Monday, the number of protestors had dwindled from hundreds to dozens, with reporters often outnumbering protestors. The Taste of D.C. festival a few feet away is drawing tourists.
Most of the protesters are either students, retired citizens or unemployed, some, like Eric Lotke of Arlington, are balancing work and family.
"Our government isn't working for the people. It's captive to a couple of corporations,” Lotke said.
He and other protesters say they will stay as long as they can. If police force them out they plan to return. Park Police didn’t returned calls seeking comment.
Sources say they're taking a “wait and see” approach to avoid public confrontations with protesters. Those protesters plan to rally on the steps of the Capitol Tuesday morning.