| Sit-in at the office of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison |
© AFP Karen Bleier
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Hundreds of people from across America demonstrated in Washington Tuesday for jobs and stronger social security by converging on the offices of US lawmakers in Congress.
The action, by activists from unions and other organizations, was dubbed Take Back the Capitol and passed off peacefully.
Small groups of protesters, who came from as far away as Florida, Kansas and Wisconsin, entered office buildings around the domed Capitol building, saying they wanted to see their elected representatives.
"You were elected to represent us, do your job!" they yelled.
John Reat, a 62-year-old unemployed information technology manager, said he came from Ohio to put his demands directly to John Boehner, Republican speaker of the House of Representatives.
Reat said he wanted to see Congress "pass the jobs bill, to increase the taxes on the one percent corporations or individuals, no cuts on social security or Medicare. That's what we all are requesting."
Reat said that once someone lost his job and health insurance it took only a "health incident (to)... wipe out their savings and boom, they lose their home. It's just not right that to lose a job is so punitive."
However, protesters only got as far as the entrances to the offices and corridors outside, where they were informed by aides that the politicians were absent or unavailable.
At the office of Republican Paul Ryan, for example, protesters were informed they should have filled out a request form for a meeting.
Three days of demonstrations were planned in Washington.
Around 3,000 people were expected to gather, while 15 tents baptized the "People's Camp" have been erected on the National Mall, a grassy area near the Capitol and the White House.
The site features a "tent of freedom," and a "tent of equality," and unflattering caricatures of corporate bosses.
"There is an economic crisis in the US; we have 14 million unemployed people, corporations are getting fatter and richer, they are not creating jobs, they are not paying their fair share of taxes," said Renee Asher, a spokeswoman with the SEIU service sector union.
On Wednesday, an event will be held on K Street, the epicenter of Washington lobbying. On Thursday, protesters plan to hold a day of prayers and speeches from religious leaders.
The Washington protests were indirectly linked to the Occupy Wall Street movement which sprang up in New York and spread nationwide, with similar themes as Take Back the Capitol.
In New York, Occupy Wall Street announced protests against bank foreclosures on indebted homeowners, although it was not clear how large the demonstrations would be.
"Millions of Americans lost their homes in the Wall Street recession and one in four homeowners are currently underwater on their mortgages. The 99 percent is bearing the brunt of a crisis caused by Wall Street and big banks," the protest movement said in a statement.
OWS promised protests in Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and other cities around the United States.
Almost three months since first popping up in New York to protest against the bailout of Wall Street corporations and economic inequity, OWS remains active.
© AFP -- Published at Activist Post with license
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