Update (5:40 p.m. EST): After an afternoon of visiting various congressional offices, the occupiers are making their way back to the capitol for their main 6 p.m. action. There are some funny anecdotes going around from the afternoon's legislator tour. We've been following Andrew Katz, who tweets "Protestors just mic-checked Rep. Gohmert's office. He was apparently there. Staff called Capitol Police." There's video of that. After a big day of marching and shouting, U-Stream operator Tim Pool is broadcasting from the food line on the capitol lawn, where the line is tremendous. Sounds like people are resting and fueling up before tonight's main march.
Update (4:10 p.m. EST): Protesters have gone into the Rayburn House Office Building to try to reach a few representatives directly. They reportedly dropped a banner from the front, and police are arriving en masse, but the actual happenings inside the building sound a little anticlimactic. Comedian John Kneffel, who tweets frequently about Occupy Wall Street in New York, had this report from inside: "Tagging along w 7 college students to visit [New York] Rep [Chris] Gibson. These halls are empty." A delegation trying to reach California Democrat Barbara Lee had no better luck, but did get treats, tweets Huffington Post reporter Jason Cherkis: "Activists still writing note to Rep. Barbara Lee. They encourage everyone to send hundreds of letters to Lee and others." Kneffel shared this picture of the empty halls:
Original: As Occupy Wall Street's big Occupy Congress protest action swells, capitol police have started arresting people and a standoff has developed with protesters taunting them by crossing lines in what observers are comparing to Frogger and Red Rover. With a permit to hold a rally on the capitol's West Lawn, protesters have started testing the limits of the police monitoring them, jumping over barricades into non-permitted territory. The situation appears to have turned into a bit of a standoff, with capitol police facing down protesters on either side of a walkway. "Protestors playing Red Rover with Capitol Police, running from side to side," tweeted Andrew Katz, a Columbia Journalism student who's on the scene. It sounds like things are relatively calm, in spite of the two guys Katz reports jumped over a dividing wall to get arrested. Dustin Slaughter, whose Twitter profile says he's a citizen journalist, shared this photo of protesters going over a wall into un-permitted space.
The first to get arrested Tuesday was a guy named William Griffin, of Knoxville, tweets Occupy Wall Street media team member Jeff Smith. Another jumped a barrier and got onto the Capitol steps, Katz reported. The standoff seems to have started when Capt. Ray Lewis, the Philadelphia police officer who got arrested during the big Occupy Wall Street protest in November, got detained by police on the West Lawn and a crowd of protesters swarmed to try to block cops from taking him into custody, which we saw on the live stream. It worked, and he was released, but now there's this awkward standoff with police on either side of the walkway dividing the West Lawn and the North Lawn. The mood is tense, tweets Katz, and the crowd sounds not entirely sure what to do with itself, as protesters debate on whether to resist police or acquiesce. As people continued to arrive by bus, it seems like police have an unstable and growing group on their hands.
Slaughter shared this Lockerz photo of the standoff with police:
We'll keep you posted as things develop.