Occupy DC To Join 'Stop The Machine,' But Remain A Separate Protest

WASHINGTON -- In McPherson Square, a handful of Occupy DC participants were still milling Thursday morning around the western part of the park where the protesters' belongings -- sleeping bags, food, signs -- are collected in a pile under a large tree. But most of the Occupy DC protesters had already decamped to Freedom Plaza to join forces with the Stop the Machine rally that is scheduled to begin at noon.

Among those still in McPherson Square was Jamie Troutman, an itinerant 22-year-old artist and musician. Troutman, who came to D.C. from Richmond to join the protest, was strumming a ukulele hanging by a cord around his neck. He was waiting for a coffee delivery before heading to Freedom Plaza.

Corryn Freeman, a 22-year-old studying political science and philosophy at Howard University, said that Occupy DC is united with Stop the Machine, but that the group had no plans to leave McPherson Square or disband.

"We're different entities," she said. "We're going to maintain our own presence."

Freeman, who was arrested earlier this year while protesting for D.C. voting rights, said she'd be at the Stop the Machine protests all week. "Heck yeah," she said. "When I'm not in class, or teaching a Zumba class, I'll definitely be down there with them."

Brian Grimes, who is 34 and "mostly homeless," he said, was going to stay behind. His feet were hurting, from a flare-up of gout. He was also going to guard the pile of bags and signs and food. If no one was there in the park, he said, the police would take all the protesters' things and throw them away.