An attempt by conservative activists to begin a month of counterprotests at an Occupy D.C. encampment fizzled today. Roughly two dozen demonstrators showed up at Washington's Freedom Plaza to launch what promoters had called Occupy Occupy D.C.
The conservative National Center for Public Policy Research organized the event, which included protest permits valid through March 15. The plan was to hold noon rallies every weekday with themes that "should resonate with every American," according to a written statement.
Despite the low turnout, the conservatives were not outnumbered by their progressive counterparts. The daytime populations of Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square, the main Occupy site, are usually small but were further decimated this month when National Park Police cracked down on a standing ban prohibiting camping in the two parks. Typically, the vast majority of Occupy demonstrators assemble en masse only for nightly meetings or organized events, such as last week's CPAC convention.
It could be expected that the odd-couple arrangement of sharing the park would cause sparks to fly. But today's activities were civil, with some conservative speakers trying to connect with Occupy D.C. on shared values.
Members of the anarchist faction within Occupy touted signs welcoming their new neighbors.