Society has been corrupted by one percent of the American population that controls wealth, while the remaining 99 percent have endured significant economic difficulties such as homelessness, foreclosures, unemployment and lay-offs, according to Occupy DC demonstrators.
Joining the protesters on the steps of the Supreme Court, civil rights activist Cornel West, singer Raheem DeVaughn and 18 Occupy DC protesters were arrested, then released from prison without charge 24-hours later on Oct. 17.
Supporters of the movement were present during the release and a few of the people arrested gave remarks on their dedication to the cause. West, who also spoke after his release, said their purpose is to critique society’s issues which include the military industrial complex, and corporate greed.
“This is a holistic, all-inclusive movement,” West said.
Protesters have set up tents in two locations: McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza, well known open areas in D.C. which are only blocks away from the White House. The demonstrators live off of bare necessities and donations.
Churches and restaurants such as Z-burger have donated food to sustain the protesters during their occupation. Ben’s Chilli Bowl, a Washington landmark with a history of activism, is also planning to donate food.
Identifying the movement
They describe themselves as “residents, immigrants, students, parents, activists, professionals, unemployed workers, and voters who comprise the underrepresented 99%,” according to a pamphlet provided by the Occupy DC movement.
This is something that represents people from all sectors of American life. “We are trying to change the world,” West said.
National Park Police have extended the permit that allows the demonstrators to stay in their locations for four months, according to the Freedom Plaza website. However some protesters said they would camp out for as long as it takes for their message to be received.