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Occupy activists target lobbyists December 8, 2011

A wooden barn was taken down by police over the weekend at Washington’s Occupy encampment

Dozens of protesters have been arrested by police in the US capital, Washington DC, during a march to protest against the influence of money in politics.

A total of 62 people were arrested, police told the BBC.

Thousands of demonstrators shut down sections of K Street in the city’s downtown area, known as the home of lobbying in the nation’s capital.

Police blocked off part of the street during the otherwise peaceful protest held in heavy rain.

Elsewhere, in San Francisco police arrested 70 people during an overnight raid on that city’s Occupy encampment.

Demonstrators there were given five minutes to gather their belongings before police took down about 100 tents.

Sit-ins at the Capitol

In Washington, the march down K Street was part of a four day protest billed as Take Back the Capitol.

The protest is being supported by the Service Employees International Union, one of the largest US labour unions, which received the permit for the march. Occupy DC protesters – who have been camped in Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square in the city – also took part.

Protesters laid down in the centre of a busy city centre junction as police issued warnings to move or face arrest, the Associated Press news agency reported.

As those arrested were carried into police vans, other protesters jeered from the side of the road.

Protesters waited inside and out of Congressional offices asking for meetings to talk about jobs

Co-ordinated online using the hashtag #99inDC, further protests are planned on Wednesday evening at a fundraising event for Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and in front of the White House and Supreme Court.

On Tuesday, protesters sat outside the offices of House and Senate members, including House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, both Republicans.

Others walked into Charlie Palmer Steak, a popular restaurant for Washington power-brokers, and began chanting.

Over the weekend, police arrested 31 protesters at the Occupy DC encampment after protesters built a wooden barn at McPherson Square, off K Street.

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‘Take Back the Capitol’ protesters in D.C. December 6, 2011


Washington (CNN) — Dozens of protesters staged sit-ins in front of lawmakers’ offices Tuesday and several hundred more camped out on the National Mall as part of a new movement calling itself “Take Back the Capitol.”

U.S. Capitol Police said one person was arrested for unlawful entry at the office of Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Missouri.

Borrowing language from the Occupy movement and drawing demonstrators “from Occupy sites from coast to coast,” the movement says its goal is to affect congressional legislation.

“For far too long, Congress has been catering to the 1% instead of representing the 99%,” the movement says on its website, 99indc.org. Protesters will push Congress to renew unemployment insurance and will focus on “other important budget and tax measures,” the website says.

“Now more than ever, Congress needs to see us and hear us.”

The group is calling its setup “The People’s Camp.”

Groups from different states went to lawmakers’ offices Tuesday.

About a dozen people were conducting what they called a sit-in outside the office of House Speaker John Boehner. One of them, John Reat from Ohio — the state Boehner represents — told CNN, “I’ve been unemployed for 24 months, and that’s why I’m here. And we’re not leaving until we talk to the speaker, or they close the building, whichever comes first.”

About 25 people visited the office of Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland. He spoke to the group outside his office and told them he sympathizes with the unemployed.

That group also went to a conference room outside the office of another Maryland Democrat, Rep. Steny Hoyer, and spoke to his aides.

“I hear you loud and clear,” a staffer for Hoyer told the group, assuring them, “We’ll take that back to the congressman.”

One group of protesters said they planned to conduct a sit-in at the office of Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Republican whip.

About 20 people went to Kyl’s office saying they wanted a forum to be heard. “All of Arizona is in the dark. We don’t know what he’s thinking,” one said. “We’ll stay until he hears us.”

The company Berlin Rosen, which specializes in public affairs campaign management, said sit-ins were taking place at the offices of more than a dozen lawmakers, including Sens. Dean Heller, Kay Bailey Hutchison and Mark Kirk.

“Unemployed workers and activists from around the country are refusing to leave congressional offices until they are able to speak firsthand to their members of Congress about the need for action on jobs and extending unemployment insurance benefits,” the company said in a news release.

Many of the protesters gathering Tuesday in Washington were older than the largely young crowds at many Occupy events.

Occupy standoff ends in DC

Inside an Occupy planning meeting

The protesters include union members.

“Take Back the Capitol” is, in part, an outgrowth of the movement to protect collective bargaining that started in Wisconsin.

The movement says thousands of people signed up to join the protest, being organized “by a wide variety of community, labor, Occupy, and other groups around the country.”

The official website links to SEIU.org, the website of Service Employees International Union, which says it is the fastest-growing union in North America.

“We’re making congressional office visits all this week to make Congress listen to #the99%,” SEIU tweeted Tuesday.

The group tweeted about demonstrators going to offices of Sens. Joe Lieberman, Scott Brown, Marco Rubio and other lawmakers.

The event began Monday and continues through Friday.

CNN’s Josh Levs, Eric Fiegel, Laurie Ure, and Stacey Samuel contributed to this report.


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Tenn. protesters defy curfew a 3rd time November 1, 2011


October 31, 2011

by legitgov

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Tenn. protesters defy curfew a 3rd time 30 Oct 2011 Occupy Wall Street protesters chanted slogans, danced to stay warm and defiantly protested into the early hours Sunday near Tennessee’s Capitol building, squaring off for the third consecutive night against state authorities. “Whose plaza? Our plaza!” about 50 demonstrators chanted early Sunday in defiance of an official curfew. Capitol police sporadically made their rounds and a state trooper occasionally walked past the protest in the pre-dawn hours, but authorities signaled no immediate attempt to make arrests as law enforcement agents had done on the two previous nights.

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Police arrest Occupy protesters in Denver October 30, 2011

Police in riot gear fired pepper balls and mace into a crowd of economic protesters in Denver on Saturday and arrested 20 after some people entered the grounds of the State Capitol, police said.

Denver Police Spokesman Lieutenant Matt Murray said about 2,000 demonstrators from Occupy Wall Street protests against economic inequality marched peacefully through downtown Denver, as they have done for the past several Saturdays.

But the situation heated up when protesters moved toward the Capitol. The Colorado State Patrol, which provides security for the statehouse, requested aid from Denver police when marchers entered the Capitol grounds, Murray said.

Someone then kicked over a police motorcycle, slightly injuring an officer, and kicked several other officers, he said. Police in riot gear moved in on the crowd, firing pepper balls and mace into the crowd, Murray said.

Murray said the seven arrests were for assault, assault on a police officer, disturbing the peace and disobeying lawful orders.

Thirteen more people were arrested when protesters attempted to erect a tent in a park across from the Capitol. Police took the tent down and protesters who interfered with police were arrested.

One protester was treated by paramedics at the scene after police physically restrained him.

“He was kicking at officers and was very intoxicated,” Murray said.

Murray said once police removed the tent, most of the crowd dispersed and the situation calmed down.

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Occupy Wall Street: Arrests in Nashville and San Diego October 29, 2011


October 28, 2011

by legitgov

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Occupy Wall Street: Arrests in Nashville and San Diego 28 Oct 2011 Protesters in two US cities have been detained after police moved into their camps during the night. In Nashville, a new law was enacted preventing camping overnight near the Tennessee state Capitol. In San Diego, police arrested 51 people at 02:30 (9:30 GMT), removing tents, canopies, tables and other furniture. On the US East Coast, many of those taking part in Occupy protests are preparing for an unseasonally cold storm due to hit this weekend. As much as 10in (25cm) of snow is expected in some areas on Saturday, with between two and four inches forecast for New York City.

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Denver Police in Riot Gear Move Into Wall Street Protest Area October 15, 2011


October 14, 2011

by legitgov

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Denver Police in Riot Gear Move Into Wall Street Protest Area 14 Oct 2011 Dozens of police in riot gear pushed Wall Street protesters into retreat outside the state Capitol in Denver on Friday, and the protesters are retreating without resisting. Many of the protesters chanted “Peaceful!” as they backed away from their encampment. Officers placed plastic handcuffs on some protesters. Authorities began taking down dozens of tents before dawn.

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The Onion tests satire limits with fake Congress hostage report September 29, 2011

The satirical news website, The Onion, has caused a Twitter storm with a fake rolling news report of a hostage situation at the US Capitol. Matt Wells analyses the controversy on Storify

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Mass. man faces terrorism charges


September 29, 2011

by legitgov

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Mass. man faces terrorism charges –FBI alleges plan to fly explosives into Capitol, Pentagon 29 Sep 2011 (MA) An Ashland man who holds a physics degree from Northeastern University was charged yesterday with an ‘Al Qaeda’-inspired plot to send a remote-controlled aircraft carrying explosives into the Pentagon and the US Capitol “to kill as many people as possible,” according to a complaint filed in federal court. Rezwan Ferdaus, a US citizen whose only known previous crime was vandalism, told FBI agents working undercover as Al Qaeda members that he wanted to “change the world,” according to the complaint.

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Reflecting Pool repairs on track, though it may not seem clear

Washington (CNN) — As the rappellers on the Washington Monument check for cracks in the structure’s exterior, they won’t be able to see themselves in another Washington landmark: the Reflecting Pool below.

It’s currently a giant mud pit.

The pool where tourists have been able to see majestic reflections of both the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial has been under construction since last November to address problems with leaking and to make the water cleaner with a new circulation system.

Although it currently looks like a mess, Steve Lorenzetti with the National Park Service sees it differently.

“I describe it as almost done with the infrastructure necessary for us to finish this project,” he said.

The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool project is expected to be complete in the spring of 2012.

When finished, the pool will actually have about a third less water than previously and will be shallower.

According to Lorenzetti, the general public won’t be able to tell.

“The reflective quality of this pool is of paramount importance to us,” he said. “So what you will see if there is no wind is a flat, glassy surface.”

The Reflecting Pool is just one part of the aging National Mall that has problems, according to Caroline Cunningham, president of the Trust for the National Mall.

She pointed out to reporters Tuesday other mall sites that have been neglected in recent years, including the area called Union Square up near the Capitol.

“Right now, there’s this beautiful reflecting pool. But, can we make it a place where people can come cool off in the summertime?” she said, referring to another, smaller reflecting pool near the Capitol.

She describes the National Mall as needing help, saying it needs to be more amenable for visitors.

The Trust for the National Mall is currently running a design contest to come up with a sustainable, creative solution to problems at Union Square.

“It should be one of the most beautiful spaces on the National Mall and it has not really been touched since the 1970s when it was built,” she said.


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Massachussetts man charged over plot to attack Pentagon and US Capitol

US authorities on Wednesday arrested and charged a Massachusetts man with plotting to damage or destroy the Pentagon and US Capitol by using remote-controlled aircraft filled with plastic explosives.

Rezwan Ferdaus, 26, a US citizen, was also charged with attempting to provide support and resources to the al Qaida group in order to carry out attacks on US soldiers stationed overseas, US attorney’s office in Boston said. He was caught in an undercover operation.

“The conduct alleged today shows that Mr. Ferdaus had long planned to commit violent acts against our country,” US Attorney Carmen Ortiz said in a statement. The public was never in danger from the explosive devices, which were controlled by undercover FBI employees, she said.

Authorities allege that Ferdaus, a physics graduate from Northeastern University in Boston, began planning to commit a violent “jihad” against the United States in early 2010.

Ferdaus, of Ashland, Massachusetts, about 25 miles (40 km) west of Boston, is alleged to have modified mobile phones to act as electrical switches for improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

He supplied the phones to the undercover FBI agents, who he believed were members of, or recruiters for, al Qaida.

“During a June 2011 meeting, he appeared gratified when told his first phone detonation device had killed three US soldiers and injured four or five others in Iraq.

Ferdaus responded, “That was exactly what I wanted,” the federal affidavit said.

Ferdaus told agents he planned to attack the Pentagon using “small drone airplanes” filled with explosives and guided by GPS equipment. He later expanded that plan to include an attack on the US Capitol.

“In May and June 2011, Ferdaus delivered two thumb drives to the UCs (undercover agents), which contained detailed attack plans with step-by-step instructions as to how he planned to attack the Pentagon and Capitol,” authorities said.

Ferdaus traveled to Washington to conduct surveillance and take photographs of his target, and identified sites at East Potomac Park, near the Capitol, from which he planned to launch his explosive-filled aircraft.

Ferdaus’ arrest came immediately after he took possession of various weaponry from the undercover agents – including explosives, grenades and AK-47 assault rifles – and brought them to and locked them in his storage unit.

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