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Occupy DC Stays Home for the Holidays

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo

The lobby shops and Congressional offices that they rally against are mostly empty this week, but a collection of Occupy DC protesters is holding down the tents at the McPherson Square encampment.

Even many of the occupiers fled town for the holidays. But others hung their stockings, including one that read "The 1 percent is Naughty," on their tents.

"A lot of people took time to go home and rejuvenate during the holidays," said Kelly Canavan, a volunteer manning the information tent Wednesday next to a sign that said, "Seasons Greetings from Occupy."

"But a number of people stayed," she added. "And we expect an influx of people from all over the country in January."

Canavan, who said she lives in Prince George's County, Md., and others involved in Occupy DC are planning several big actions, or rallies, for January, including an "Occupy Congress" on Capitol Hill on Jan. 17, "Occupy the Courts" on the Jan. 20 and a major, multicity effort on Jan. 24.

"This week, we're having committee meetings and organizing," she said.

Tim McFallon, who said he arrived in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 5, took a brief trip back to New York for Christmas but returned by Wednesday to continue what he called a mission to remove corporate influence from politics.

McFallon, who is trained in first aid, said he's a medic for the camp who also does "de-escalation" — his word for security.

"Everyone is here for different reasons," he said. "We have Republicans, libertarians, anarchists, Democrats."

But mostly, despite some disagreements, he said, the occupiers are united in being "fed up with the way things are going" in the country.

Some who are spending the holiday week at Occupy DC said they didn't have a home to go to. One man, an artist wearing a maroon scarf over his head who goes by the name "Huckleberry Finn," said he came from the road and didn't plan to leave his perch at 15th and K streets any time soon.

"I've been on the road for about 10 years," he said, adding that he'd been voicing the same concerns as the Occupy movement for that decade. "I don't think it's right that men with calloused hands can't find a job."

Another protester, Thomas Lee, who said he is from Charlotte, N.C., spent Christmas at "home" in his tent, which is complete with a self-made wooden patio festooned with a poinsettia. Lee, who sported a bandana around part of his face, said he and three others set up camp in McPherson Square almost three weeks ago and have been organizing nightly marches three blocks to the White House.

"We're trying to make this community more active, a more self-sustaining environment," he said. "The special interests and corporate executives make me feel like, personally, my vote doesn't matter."

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