|Occupy K street protestors hold a flag on the street in Washington, capital of the United States, Dec. 7, 2011. Thousands of protestors on Wednesday swarmed to K Street in Washington, the hub of major lobbying firms, demanding big corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. (Xinhua/Fang Zhe)
WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of protesters on Wednesday swarmed K Street in Washington, D.C. -- hub of major lobbying firms, demanding big corporations pay their fair share of taxes.
Holding banners saying "Tax the Rich", "Create Jobs", protesters gathered on the rainy morning at the National Mall, where they set up what they called the "People's Camp" on Monday to serve as their home base for the week-long "Take Back the Capitol" movement.
Joining the protest were unemployed and underemployed people, students, union members, healthcare advocates, among others. On their way to K Street, they stormed several major corporations including Verizon, General Electric, Capitol Tax Partners, the American Bankers Association, which they said do not pay their fair share of taxes.
At about noon, protesters converged on K Street near the Franklin Park, leaving the nearby traffic almost paralyzed. Many police cars lined in the area to try to keep the crowd in order. Some arrests were made in the afternoon after protesters ignored police warnings to move or face arrest.
Deya Dira, a student of University of Houston in Texas, came to D.C. over the weekend with about 120 others to join the protest.
"We are there (on K Street) to tell lobbyists that the 99 percent is not for sale," she told Xinhua. "We are going to take back the capitol, we are going to take back our government."
Dira said they have been camping out on the National Mall these days, adding the bad weather will not deter them from pressing on.
"It's supposed to snow tomorrow, but we are still going to be here, we are not going anywhere," she said. "We have families back home and obligations back home, and we are sacrificing that to be here to tell lobbyists on K Street that our government is not for sale."
John Butler, a 50-year-old resident of D.C., has been unemployed for 4 years. He found it even harder to get a job today as the economy continues to be sluggish and the government pays no attention to the plight of a majority of Americans like him, he said.
"We demand that the Congress stop listening to the corporate CEOs and stop giving them tax breaks," he said. " Give us jobs, we need jobs."
While the protesters are not part of the Occupy D.C., an offspring of the widespread Occupy Wall Street movement, they share similar messages.
The "Take Back the Capitol" movement aims to "show Congress what democracy looks like, shine a light on corporate greed and the human suffering it has caused, and demand justice for the 99 percent," the movement said on its website.
On Tuesday, members of the group staged sit-ins in the offices of a number of lawmakers on Capitol Hill, asking lawmakers to represent the 99 percent of ordinary Americans, rather than the wealthy.
They planed multiple speak-outs throughout the Capitol, a national prayer vigil with unemployed folks and faith leaders, a mass march on key congressional leaders, according to the group's website. The protest is scheduled to conclude Friday.