Scuffle marks gathering of D.C. Occupy protesters

Voice of America/Mike Kornely and Juliann McKellogg Officers frisk Philadelphia police captain

A minor scuffle broke out between police and protesters in Washington Tuesday as hundreds of people from around the country gathered at the Capitol to draw attention to what they say is a broken political system.

As the protesters held what they call a general assembly on the Capitol grounds, police responded to a suspicious man wearing a Philadelphia police uniform.

“Why is he being searched,” asked one protester.

“Because he is wearing a police uniform,” responded the policeman. “Thus, somebody wearing a police uniform would be carrying a gun. Thus we search.”

The man wearing the police uniform is retired Philadelphia Police Capt. Ray Lewis.

Lewis is well known in Occupy circles for his support of the movement. He was arrested along with others at a New York Protest late last year. “Thank you for being here. You guys all started this. I just jumped on your coattails,” said Lewis.

When police tried to move protesters from an area where they didn’t have a permit, tempers flaired.

Then, police tackled two protesters who jumped a wall and tried to run past a police line.

“You are free to be here but you are required to file a permit,” said a police officer. “If you filed a permit for here, then you would have the permit for here. But you filed a permit for over there.”

Finally the police gave in and let the protesters stay.

A small victory for the Occupy movement during what has been a difficult winter.

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