ASSOCIATED PRESS: More than five dozen protesters upset about what they call corporate greed and the excessive influence of money in politics were arrested Wednesday after shutting down K Street, home to many of Washington’s lobbying firms, in a mass demonstration that snarled midday traffic in the nation’s capital. Demonstrators from across the US converged for the Washington march that included participants from Occupy Wall Street encampments as well as other groups, including unions, sympathetic to their message of income inequality. Organizers said they expected several thousand people in Washington this week for days of activism, almost three months after the movement against economic disparity and corporate greed began with Occupy Wall Street in New York. MORE
RELATED: March On K Street Liveblog
NEW YORK TIMES: With a soggy cluster of balloons floating beside him, a shaggy-haired demonstrator kept watch on Wednesday inside the front gate of a dilapidated two-story home in East New York, Brooklyn. The residential block was mostly empty, except for a police car idling at the curb. It was quite the contrast from Tuesday night’s street party as members of the Occupy Wall Street movement moved into the foreclosed house. The goal was to restore the home to a suitable condition so that a needy family could move in. On Wednesday, the reality of the task was clear: the ceiling was covered in mold, the carpets were mildewed, walls were partially knocked down, and there were a pile of sleeping bags and a beer bottle on the floor. And so the work began. “This is not a new occupation for occupiers — this is about the family,” said Max Berger, 26, of Brooklyn. “We’re trying to fix up the home for the family.” MORE
SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER: A three-hour standoff between police and Occupy SF demonstrators at Justin Herman Plaza on Wednesday night ended with cops leaving the site about 9 p.m., appearing to be outnumbered by the group of several hundred people. Some 40 to 50 protesters had illegally entered the closed-off plaza area — which had been raided early Wednesday — and were corralled by police. Negotiations to release them stalled officers’ attempts to disband the gathering. Only half the demonstrators accepted an ultimatum from police, but then cops retreated and protesters vowed to reclaim the plaza — even setting up tents by press time. MORE
FRESH AIR: The movement came with its own culture too, just a few subway stops from the national media. It gave color to the story, as reporters turned ethnographers returned from the field with reports of the people’s microphone, the jazz-hand finger-flutters, and the drum circles. It was street theater, or a dinner party with paper plates, or an exercise in constructive group dynamics, or a reprise of Woodstock or of the Bonus Marchers of 1932. The occupiers were romantics, holy fools, anarchists. Or they were an incoherent mob of dirty hippies — and with iPads, moreover. I make “dirty hippie” a strong candidate for comeback word of the year. It would have vanished from the language years ago if it hadn’t been kept on life support on South Park. Whatever the movement is, it isn’t a wing of electoral politics. People talk about Tea Party Republicans, but nobody’s tempted to talk about Occupy Democrats. But it has revived the culture of protest among the young and on the left. As protests go, occupying is high maintenance and seasonal, and the movement might have a different form and name five years from now. But it has already altered the political language with that slogan “We are the 99 percent.” Economists have been talking about the top 1 percent for a long time, but it has suddenly become part of our national table talk. It’s the most specific term for class in American public life since the late 19th century, when social reformers warned about the undue power and influence of what they called “the upper tenth.” The rise of the 1-percenter talk has left the right uncharacteristically defensive and nonplused. MORE
MOTHER JONES: On Wednesday night, Republican presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich held a fundraiser at the posh Willard InterContinental hotel in downtown Washington, DC. Waiting there for Gingrich were a few dozen protesters. Around 7 p.m., they snuck through an unlocked back door to the candlelit ballroom hosting the Gingrich affair and caused a ruckus. An email from the Service Employees International Union alerted me to the protest, and I joined them as they crashed the fundraiser.
The Gingrich fundraiser protest was part of “Take Back the Capitol,” a five-day, 99-percent-themed series of protests targeting lawmakers at popular fundraising and deal-making spots in DC, including the Capitol Hill Club, a GOP haunt, and Charlie Palmer Steakhouse, a favorite lunch spot for lobbyists and legislators a stone’s throw from Capitol. On Tuesday night, protesters lined the entrance to the swanky Lincoln restaurant to protest a fundraiser thrown by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). At least a dozen were arrested on Wednesday during a march on K Street, the symbolic heart of DC’s lobbying industry. The protesters’ schedule includes a full day of events on Thursday, including actions at the Capitol Hill Club and elsewhere around DC. But no 1-percenter knows where they might strike next. MORE