Scores of protestors opened their sleeping bags and erected tents at Freedom Plaza, not far from the White House, on Oct. 6 to continue a movement consisting of thousands of angry Americans participating across the country.
Unlike the Occupy Wall Street movement, which began in New York last month, the D.C. movement called “October 2011” was pre-planned. But the message is the same, with protestors demanding jobs for the unemployed and a change in corporate America.
Participants flew in from out of town to attend the four-day event, named “Human Needs, Not Corporate Greed.” Christopher Bueker, 25, told The Washington Post that he traveled from Cincinnati for the event, and said that he was happy that a protest similar to those in Europe and the Middle East has ignited in the U.S.
“We’re definitely influenced by movements happening all over the world,” he said. “This isn’t just happening in D.C. This is happening globally.”
Cornel West, comedian Lee Camp and Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges were expected to join.
Prior to the event it was planned that participants would hold a People’s Assembly where ideas of “just and sustainable solutions” could be shared, according to the event’s Web site www.October2011.org.
“We will plan and engage in creative acts of civil resistance and demand that our inherent rights and freedoms be protected, and that our children have a chance to live in peace, to breathe clean air, and to grow edible natural food,” the organization stated on the site.
Supporters and those who registered to participate were expected to take the following pledge:
“I pledge that if any U.S. troops, contractors, or mercenaries remain in Afghanistan on Thursday, October 6, 2011, as that occupation goes into its 11th year, I will commit to being in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., with others on that day with the intention of making it our Tahrir Square, Cairo, our Madison, Wisconsin, where we will NONVIOLENTLY resist the corporate machine to demand that our resources are invested in human needs and environmental protection instead of war and exploitation. We can do this together. We will be the beginning.”
The protest was broadcasted through live video streaming on October2011.org. Participants were encouraged to bring their sleeping bags as local churches provided space for rest.