Yesterday saw the biggest Occupy protests in Washington D.C. to date. While the actions in New York have been going since September 17, the District wasn’t “occupied” until October 1, when a small cohort took up residence in McPherson Square in downtown D.C.
The Occupy D.C. crowd which, by my estimates, has fluctuated between 10 and 20 people most of the week, met up yesterday at noon with several hundred anti-war protesters in Freedom Plaza—a park dedicated to the Emancipation Proclamation.
The initial crowd was at about 1,000 people, mostly middle-aged and white. Vietnam veterans and parents of soldiers made their grievances known: There’s too much corporate greed, the Bush “crime family” is to blame for a decade of war in Afghanistan, and this non-violent, diverse movement cannot be stopped.
Only one protester made a specific reference to race; and she was wearing a message to Herman Cain on her back: “I Am Black & Democrat, not brain washed.” It was an apparent reference to his disparaging remarks about blacks tending to vote Democratic.
But the action wasn’t particularly diverse—at least not at noon. Though the protest picked up more people as it marched to the White House and continued into the evening, it would be difficult to characterize it as a multiracial movement in D.C. At least not yet.
It’s unclear how long the Occupy D.C. protesters will be hunkered down in downtown parks, but it’s possible they’ll continue to pick up steam the same way Occupy Wall Street has.