Dozens Arrested At Occupy DC Protest On K St. | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Dozens Arrested At Occupy DC Protest On K St.

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Protesters locked arms across K St. Wednesday afternoon, in an effort to call attention to the influence of corporate lobbying firms with offices in the area. Between 50 and 70 were believed to be arrested.
Markette Smith
Protesters locked arms across K St. Wednesday afternoon, in an effort to call attention to the influence of corporate lobbying firms with offices in the area. Between 50 and 70 were believed to be arrested.

A reported 61 protesters were arrested Wednesday in the Occupy K St. protests that hit downtown D.C. Activists from Occupy DC, other groups and even ordinary citizens joined in a demonstration against some of the country's biggest corporate lobbying firms, who activists say have corrupted the political process in the country.

After being stymied outside of several lobbying groups, the rally made its way back to McPherson square, where groups of people moved into the road to try and block several intersections along K Street. Police issued several warnings to move or face arrest. After a dozen protesters were arrested at 16th and K, a larger group laid down on the road at 14th and K for a more protracted standoff.

Police arrested this group one by one, filling several police vans, and had the intersections clear by about 4 p.m. The Department of Transportation says the demonstration may have residual delays on traffic, and drivers are told to avoid the area.

Update 3:00 p.m.: Almost 40 protesters from all over the country laid down in the middle of K Street, linking arms and singing in protest of the corporate lobbying firms headquartered in the area.

Police are arresting the activists one by one, and have formed a line around the group to prevent others from joining them. The police are moving slowly, but so far there have been no reports of violence.

Update 2:20 p.m.: At least eleven arrests have been made after police on horses hemmed in a group of Occupy protesters at the intersection of 14th and K. People have lined the street with newspaper boxes and linked arms to form a human chain across the road.

More arrests are expected, and the Occupy DC protesters are using their "human mic" to circulate the phone number of legal council.  You can follow the tweets as they happen on our Storify story.

Update 1:20 p.m.: Protesters at 16th and K streets NW were given a warning by police to move or they would be arrested. Protesters refuse to move, and police began making arrests. After several arrests, protesters have cleared the intersection. 

Update 12:40 p.m.: Protesters have completely blocked K Street NW at 16th Street NW as part of the demonstration. Some members of the group began bringing trash cans and tents into the middle of the street, but police quickly shut down that effort. Hundreds of demonstrators have filled the intersection, and are surrounded by police on motorcycles and horseback at the intersection.

Original story: Protesters from 'Occupy DC' and other movements are marching on K Street NW today to get the attention of lobbyists, despite constant rain and threats have snow. Activists are alarmed by the extent of the influence corporate lobbyists exert over Congress, and hope to shine a spotlight on this relationship.

There is a growing police presence on the street corners between 13th and 17th St NW, where the demonstrators have secured a permit to gather. Those planning on driving near McPherson Square should expect a slower ride.

While the rallying cry of today's march is about the undemocratic influence of special interests, that doesn't tell the whole story. Among the protesters was 77-year old woman from Minnesota who says she went broke last year after having to put her husband in a nursing home. She’s in town visiting friends and decided to come down on a whim to speak out on healthcare reform.

There is also a high school government class from Sandy Spring Friends school in Olney, Md.

The protesters plan to head to the White House later today.

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