WASHINGTON -- Several protesters were arrested late Tuesday morning on Capitol Hill, part of the ongoing demonstrations inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City. According to TPM, protesters marched from Freedom Plaza to the Hart Senate Office Building, where they assembled in the building's large multi-story atrium:
Protesters were gathering in the atrium of the building as Capitol police officers loomed nearby and as other demonstrators in anti-war gear set themselves up in the lobbies of floors overlooking the lobby.
According to a press release from the "Stop the Machine" protesters, who have been camped out in Freedom Plaza since last Thursday:
About 75-100 protesters from the October2011 occupation of Freedom Plaza marched from the Plaza to the Hart Senate Office Building this morning to confront Congress about its refusal to represent the people who vote for them and their incompetence in the face of economic crisis and unending war.
As of 11:40 this morning, police began arresting some of the demonstrators, including Dennis Trainor from the October2011 Steering Committee.
UPDATE, 12:34 p.m.: A dispatch from The Huffington Post's Tyler Kingkade:
Madea Benjamin with Code Pink and other witnesses at the Hart Senate Office Building told The Huffington Post they could confirm at least two people were arrested with the protests Tuesday afternoon.
Dozens rolled into the Hart building and witnesses said they began chanting and waving signs, while some went to the upper levels and tried to unroll banners that said "Cut Military Spending."
Benjamin said a group from OccupyDC decided at Freedom Plaza last night to protest Congress on Tuesday. The police gave several warnings to quit yelling and chanting and some decided to continue until Capitol Police officers began making arrests.
Protesters said they wanted to make a point cuts to the Pentagon and ending the wars should be tied into the current budget debate in Congress.
"It's part of the budget debate in for the first time they are talking about cuts to the Pentagon, but they're not big enough and they're not talking about cuts from the wars, Benjamin said. "We're saying there's plenty of money to be used for Medicare, Medicaid, social security, the services that people need, if we cut the bloated Pentagon budget."
Many offices began closing their doors and police would not let protesters go beyond a certain point, relatively close to the entrance.
More protests are planned around the Capitol on Tuesday, as progressive activists are planning to urge the Senate to pass the jobs bill.
UPDATE, 6:06 p.m.: Four more "Stop the Machine" protesters were arrested at the Senate this afternoon. According to a press statement released by the group, the protesters were arrested at the Dirksen Senate Office Building while interrupting a Senate Finance Committee Meeting on free trade agreements that the protest group opposes.