WASHINGTON -- In solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York City, a related group, OccupyDC, is gathering support for an occupation of its own at McPherson Square in downtown Washington on Saturday morning.
Feeding off the momentum of the ongoing Wall Street demonstrations, the Washington group’s associated Twitter hashtag, #OccupyDC, has jumped from 55 mentions earlier this week to more than 600 by Friday, and its official account, @OccupyKSt, has reached nearly 200 followers.
An organizer for OccupyDC, who was reached through the group's website and wished to remain anonymous, told The Huffington Post that social media has "definitely" played the major role in gathering support for the local movement, with the response being much larger than expected.
"We didn't really make much of an effort to spread the word. Given what happened on Wall Street, I think a lot of people wanted to take action -- even more than before," the organizer said.
Saturday's first "General Assembly" of the D.C.-based movement will follow in the footsteps of recent protests by similar Occupy groups from Boston to New York to San Francisco. The original Wall Street-based demonstrations -- which have received nationwide attention due in part to celebrity endorsements and allegations of excessive police force against the protesters -- seek to raise awareness about corporate America's influence on domestic politics.
Following this assembly, the D.C. group will join forces with the larger October 2011/Stop the Machine movement on Oct. 6 in Washington's Freedom Plaza, where the D.C. organizer said thousands are expected to gather in support.
More than 260 potential attendees are listed on OccupyDC's Facebook event page, although the organizer acknowledged it's hard to gauge what the actual turnout will be.
"We have a lot of inquiries about helping, but we don't really know how many people will be planning on coming or staying. We'll just take it as we go," the organizer said.