Right around 5 p.m. Thursday night, people started gathering in McPherson Square. The gathering of activists and allies was to prepare for a march a couple of blocks downtown, towards the White House, to 729 15th St. There, the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hosted a fundraiser with tickets going from $5000 and $75,000.
The Occupiers would have none of it. They met in McPherson and announced that they would protest "pay for play" right in front of the Democrats. They marched down 15th, accompanied by TV cameras, and parked outside the building that Democrats had rented a room in. For 20 minutes, Occupiers led chants and shamed the Democrats inside, as DCCC staffers stood watch, making sure no one snuck in.
Shortly after 6 p.m., word spread that the Occupiers were protesting only one of the DCCC's events. There was a smaller-dollar fundraiser a short walk away, at the W Hotel, near the White House. Most of the protesters got up and moved, bringing themselves to the north and west doors of the hotel, where they started testing their abilities to get inside. On the west side, they were thwarted by security, and a small scuffle broke out.
When they failed to get in, and security roped off the door by locking it with an extension cord, a bevy of Occupiers sat down, attempting to block any exit or entrance. That protest ended amicably, with hotel security and cops informing protesters that they were violating safety law, and action committee organizers coming up with a quick compromise: Protesters would stand, leaving the sidewalk clear. On the north side of the hotel, protesters sat in a circle, leaving a wide path for people to enter the hotel, and "mic checked" stories of why they were protesting. It was, in the end, a loud but peaceful series of protests.
Jerry Nelson is a nationally recognized photojournalist. His work has appeared in many national, regional and local publications including CNN, USAToday, Upsurge, Earthwalkers and Associated Content and he is a regular contributor to Huffington Post as well as OpEdNews. Nelson travels the country seeking out the people, places and things that make America unique and great. Nelson currently is in Washington D.C. pointing his camera at OccupyDC and freelancing for The Washington Times the second largest paper in the nation's capital.
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