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Jan 17, 2010
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New Jersey
Wednesday, October 12, 6:05 PM

It’s lunchtime in McPherson Square in downtown Washington, and a young couple who met at the ongoing Occupy D.C. protests are cuddling on an air mattress and talking about corporate greed.

Kathy Elliso, 22, and Steve Hartwell, 23, have started dating, so to speak, in the 10 days since the Occupy D.C. demonstrators set up their tents and their “Tax the rich” placards in this park along the lawyer-and-lobbyist-dense K Street corridor. They are joining protests that have spread to cities around the country since the Occupy Wall Street movement began last month in New York.

She liked how the underemployed construction worker who builds pools described America as “broken.” He respected how the petite protester with braided sandy hair still spends time here even though she has to commute to Whole Foods in Reston, where she works in the prepared-foods section.

The park they occupy has a corner piled with blankets labeled “comfort station.” The grassy space is scattered with guitars sporting “All my heroes have FBI files” stickers; skateboards, footballs and towels are imprinted with the American flag. Along the periphery of the square are posters that say, “The Revolution will not be Privatized,” “Give me Liberty or at least a Job. (I’d prefer both.)” and “Arab Spring? How about an American Autumn?” Some young people have symbolically hung their résumés along the park’s black metal fence.

“Mostly I just like how we have created a community here for all of the isolated, unemployed youth in America,” says Hartwell, who resembles an unwashed James Dean with eyebrow piercings.

Hartwell, who is from Richmond, says word is getting out online, and he predicts that more unemployed young people will join the occupation, which is still tiny compared with Manhattan’s.

Behind the young couple is a row of food stations with giant jars of peanut butter and jelly. There’s a jumbo family pack of Sun Chips from Costco and dozens of cardboard coffee boxes from Corner Bakery and Starbucks, along with a supersize bag of Cheerios and trays of sandwiches from Cosi donated by an anonymous benefactor.

The scene feels a little bit like a Grateful Dead concert

Read more, video, pics Occupy D.C. protest in McPherson Square: Woodstock meets Washington - The Washington Post
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