Occupied: Washington

This is the first in an ongoing series of photo stories from Occupy protests around the East Coast. Check back soon for photos of Occupy Providence as well as continuing coverage and breaking news related to other occupations in the United States.

McPherson Square in Washington is small but packed with dozens of tents pitched by short-term visitors hopping from protest to protest and long-term squatters. With a library, information center, daily meals, general assemblies and a medical facility, the park has become home a tiny, functioning town. Photo by Kassondra Cloos.

The occupation of numerous cities in the United States and around the world has grown to involve hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of daily protesters. From city to city, the Occupy movements share similar themes with the original Occupy Wall Street protest that started weeks ago, but have evolved into autonomous statements involving scores of varied personalities.

From the hungry and the homeless to the hurting and the hippies, each occupation has been housing long-term protesters and accommodating temporary visitors. In Washington, there is a sharp and ironic juxtaposition in McPherson Park between the shabby tarps and large tents. A library, food station and information and medical centers welcome all who have questions or need assistance, and are staffed by various people taking turns throughout the day. The occasional beggar will insist outsiders can’t go in the park or take photos without donating, but the scene within is proof of the contrary. City-like and self-sufficient–with the assistance of food, medical, monetary and other types of donations–Occupy Washington at McPherson Square incorporates a myriad of personalities, ideologies, complaints and suggestions.

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