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Occupy Protesters Swarm US Capitol in Washington

  • Jeff Swicord

Occupy Congress/DC protesters hold a banner in front of the U.S. Capitol during a rally in Washington, January 17, 2012.

Occupy Congress/DC protesters hold a banner in front of the U.S. Capitol during a rally in Washington, January 17, 2012.

A minor scuffle broke out between police and protesters in Washington Tuesday as hundreds of people from around the country gathered at the Capitol to draw attention to what they say is a broken political system.

As the protesters held what they call a general assembly on the Capitol grounds, police responded to a suspicious man wearing a Philadelphia police uniform.

“Why is he being searched," asked one protester.

“Because he is wearing a police uniform," responded the policeman. "Thus, somebody wearing a police uniform would be carrying a gun. Thus we search.”

The man wearing the police uniform is retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis.

Lewis is well known in Occupy circles for his support of the movement. He was arrested along with others at a New York Protest late last year. “Thank you for being here. You guys all started this. I just jumped on your coattails," said Lewis.

When police try to move protesters from an area where they don't have a permit, tempers flair.

Then, police tackle two protesters who jump a wall and try to run past a police line.

“You are free to be here but you are required to file a permit," said a police officer. "If you filed a permit for here, then you would have the permit for here. But you filed a permit for over there.”

Finally the police give in and let the protesters stay.

A small victory for the Occupy movement during what has been a difficult winter.

Watch extra footage of the protest by VOA's Mike Kornely and Juliann McKellogg

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