Arab Today, arab today washington protesters given permit to continue
Last Updated : GMT 15:07:23
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Arab Today, arab today

Washington protesters given permit to continue

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Washington protesters given permit to continue

Washington - AFP

Protesters in Washington condemning corporate greed and corrupt politics leaped at the chance to extend their occupation of a square near the White House by another four months. The Stop the Machine occupation of Freedom Plaza is one of two ongoing protests in the capital, alongside the like-minded but more youthful Occupy DC sit-in, now in its 10th day. Its original four-day permit from the National Park Service -- which polices the square -- called for them to leave on Monday, but late in the day the federal agency proposed a permit that would run until February 2012. \"The GA (general assembly) at Freedom Plaza just reached consensus -- we accept the four-month extension of our permit!\" organizers said on the StopTheMach2011 Twitter feed. Occupy DC remains at McPherson Square, without a permit, where it staged a late-day general assembly Monday watched by a solitary police cruiser. Both protests comprise several dozen participants each. Stop the Machine had declared earlier Monday it would stay in Freedom Plaza -- across from Washington\'s city hall and the Ronald Reagan international trade center -- indefinitely, with or without permission.  \"The First Amendment sanctions this,\" one of its organizers, David Swanson, told AFP, citing the section of the US Constitution that guarantees the right to free speech and peaceful assembly. \"We already have a permit in the Constitution. We\'re staying,\" added Swanson amid several dozen colorful camping tents that have sprouted up in the plaza, even as the portable stage in place since Thursday was being packed up. Stop the Machine, which grew out of opposition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, began organizing several months ago, well in time to get a permit from the National Park Service, which polices many Washington landmarks. Spokesman for the park service police could not be reached for comment on Monday, a national holiday. Occupy DC, inspired by the much bigger Occupy Wall Street movement in New York, has drawn slowly growing numbers every day to McPherson Square, which is surrounded by the offices of influential political lobbyists. Many of its participants settled down for the long haul over the weekend, erecting food stalls and laying out sleeping bags under century-old red oak trees. Some waved signs at passing motorists, getting supportive honks from taxi drivers in particular. Via Twitter, the protesters -- who claim to have no leader, preferring to take decisions by consensus at daily open-air meetings -- appealed Monday for food, shelter and other materials. On Saturday, a march through Washington turned momentarily violent when guards at the National Air and Space Museum fired pepper spray at protesters rushing into the building. At least one person was arrested, and the museum -- where combat drones are among the exhibits -- closed its doors to the public.  

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