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Tea party channels Occupy uprising, plans protest camp near White House
A group of conservative activists is borrowing from the protest playbook of the Occupy movement, encouraging demonstrators to camp out within sight of the White House in Lafayette Square next week as part of an ongoing movement demanding the resignation of President Obama and other high-level federal government officials.
"We're putting together a huge coalition of conservative groups, libertarian groups and others because the government has ignored our grievances," said Larry Klayman, organizer of the Reclaim America Now Coalition. "The American people have to rise up and use peaceful non-violence."
And reminiscent of the 2011 Occupy D.C. movement, when protesters kept camps in Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square, the group is encouraging participants to "literally camp in Washington D.C. and not leave until we get results," according to its agenda.
"The speaking is a one-day event, but if people want to camp and stay there, that would be very effective," said Mr. Klayman, a former chairman of the conservative watchdog organization Judicial Watch.
It's unclear how many people will participate in the demonstrations. Groups slated to participate include the 2 Million Bikers, who streamed into the city on Sept. 11 in droves, and organizers of an October trucker rally whose pledge to clog the Beltway fizzled. In an application permit filed with the National Park Service, the group estimated 500 people will attend Tuesday's rally.
A spokeswoman with the Park Service could not provide information on the length of time the permit allows for the rally and whether it would allow camping in the park. Occupy D.C. members kept a camp at McPherson Square in Northwest D.C. for nearly four months during the fall of 2011 and winter of 2012 until U.S. Park Police eventually dismantled the group's structures and evicted the protesters.
Though the speakers lined up for Tuesday's rally are conservative, Mr. Klayman said all political ideologies are welcome, arguing that liberals have plenty of reason to get fired up as well. He faults Republican leaders for not drilling down into the president's Affordable Care Act to determine beforehand that people were at risk of losing their existing health insurance plans.
"Now they are coming on TV all smiles thinking they will take the elections in 2014," Mr. Klayman said.
Among the speakers billed to attend rally across the street from the White House are former Rep. Bob Barr, perennial presidential candidate Alan Keyes and the executive director of Gun Owners of America, Larry Pratt.
In addition to Mr. Obama, the group is also calling for the resignations of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, and House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Andrea Noble is a crime and public safety reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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