Monday, January 2, 2012

Democrats Become Target of Occupy Protests -

Democrats Become Target of Occupy Protests

In what Occupy the Caucus members called a symbolic “die-in,” 12 protesters lay motionless on the lobby floor of the Renaissance Des Moines Savory Hotel Monday afternoon before getting arrested.

The gesture was directed at the Democratic National Committee, which set up an office on the hotel’s second floor for Tuesday’s caucuses, after occupiers sent a letter to the D.N.C. chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, over the weekend. The missive criticized the Democratic Party’s leadership and requested a meeting to discuss what they say is overwhelming influence of corporate greed in politics.

When Ms. Wasserman Schultz declined the invitation on Sunday evening, saying she was unavailable, a group of occupiers marched to the hotel to show their discontent, but left when the police arrived, according to protest organizers.

Convinced Ms. Wasserman Schultz was blowing them off, they returned Monday afternoon with a dozen people prepared to get arrested.

“It’s not ordinary people that matter anymore in American politics,” said Stephen Toothman, a member of Occupy Des Moines who helped plan the protest. “These are the people that she should be meeting with and not the corporations.”

The D.N.C. could not be reached for comment.

Inside the hotel, people had to step around the prostrated bodies for about a half hour until the police forced the additional two dozen standing demonstrators to wait outside the building, where they continued to watch through the glass doors.

Holding a sign that read “Death of the Middle Class,” David Maciewski, 39, said the group was targeting both Democratic and Republican officials this week because they wanted to prove that they are not a partisan movement.

“We’re about the corporate control of the political system and that’s across the board,” he said.

Nearby, another protester wearing a drum and cheering as she watched the police make the arrests identified herself as a Democrat but would not give her name. “If your political party won’t meet with you,” she said, “who will?”

Democrats Become Target of Occupy Protests -

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