(DES MOINES, Iowa) — An offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement met Tuesday evening to organize and plan protests in Iowa’s capitol during the week leading up to the state’s caucuses next Tuesday.
About 200 people involved in the “Occupy the Caucuses” movement met in East Des Moines and split up into groups by the GOP candidates they want to “occupy” this week. Protesters have said they will also camp out outside President Obama’s headquarters.
At the beginning of the session, protesters aired grievances that they wanted to raise at the candidates’ headquarters this week, and then attendees split into groups by candidate. The issues included ending the war in Afghanistan, campaign finance reform and higher education and health care costs, among other topics.
David Goodner, one of the organizers of the event, said protesters will go to the candidate they have “the most beef with.” They will return to their temporary headquarters in East Des Moines every morning at 10 a.m. before they head out to sit outside the offices.
And, as Goodner explained, it’s not just candidates’ office that will be targeted: “It could be blockading the doors at Wells Fargo to try to shut down the largest mortgage lender in the country who has their headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa. It’s really up to the people in this room to decide what form their protest will take, but those are … some of the tactics that are on the table.”
“Occupy the Caucuses,” however, has pledged to be non-violent and not to disrupt the actual caucuses that are one week away. At the end of the event, which drew young and old and was titled the “People’s Caucus,” the crowd made a verbal pledge to stay nonviolent, although Goodner added they may target campaign parties in Des Moines on caucus night.
“We’re not going to interfere or interrupt the caucuses because our targets are Wall Street, big corporations, and the politicians that carry the water for them — not every day voters,” Goodner said.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Eric Bradner, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Euan McKirdy, Bryony Jones and Barry Neild, CNN