Occupy Congress Essential Tips
Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square are excited to be hosting Occupy Congress and hope that it will be one of the largest gatherings that the Occupy Movement has seen. Since we are expecting thousands of people to come into D.C., please be aware of a few important things before you get here that will make everyone’s time here as safe, productive, and stress-free as possible.
What to bring…
Water: Unfortunately, the city of Washington D.C. shuts off many of its drinking fountains in the winter to avoid pipes bursting. Therefore, we advise bringing multiple bottles of water. There will be some water available on site, but supplies cannot be guaranteed.
Food: While the area around the Capitol is a busy area with many restaurants and some free food donations are expected, a steady supply of food cannot be guaranteed. It is strongly advised that participants bring their own food to consume throughout the day’s activities and overnight. Ready to eat food is highly recommended. This includes:
granola bars, dried fruit, trail mix, crackers, and peanut butter and jelly. If you have access to a military supply store, they should have “meals ready to eat” which are full meals that can be consumed on the go.
A tent: If you plan on protesting at Freedom Plaza, McPherson Square, or anywhere else in the city, overnight, please bring your own tent. While there are some unused tents at both sites, neither site can guarantee accommodations. If you have multi-person tents, please try to coordinate with others coming from your local occupation to share and conserve space. Also tents are not allowed on Capitol Grounds and could result in the day’s activities to be broken up early, so we encourage tents instead be set up at either McPherson Square or
A warm blanket or cold weather sleeping bag: While the high temperatures are expected to be in the upper 40’ss on January 17th, the evening temperatures are expected to dip into the low 30s. Please bring an extra blanket and/or a cold weather sleeping bag if you plan on joining the tented protests around Washington D.C.
Winter clothes: Since there is a chance of precipitation on January 17th, it is very important to bring waterproof boots, rain ponchos, and wool socks just in case. Layering clothes, including wearing long johns, and wearing a hat will help fight any cold that may occur.
If you have extra to spare of any of the above items, Freedom Plaza or McPherson Square are glad to take donations for those who are unable to afford these items in the days leading up to Occupy Congress.
What to know…
Accommodations: Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square are located in the Downtown/Golden Triangle neighborhood of Washington D.C. close to the White House. Nearby neighborhoods that you can look into for accommodations are: Capitol Hill, Chinatown/Mount Vernon Square, Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom, and Shaw/Logan Circle.
If you plan on occupying, there is currently more empty space at Freedom Plaza. Please go to Freedom Plaza and begin filling it up first. Once Freedom Plaza is full, additional people can start occupying McPherson Square.
Parking: For those who plan on driving to Washington D.C., please be aware that parking near the Capitol can be expensive and hard to find (a list of possible spots is at http://dc.about.com/od/transportation/a/ParkingNearMall.htm).
There are many Metro Park and Rides on the Orange and Blue Lines which cost about $9.00 per day for parking and will take you right to the Capitol South station. Please consult http://www.wmata.com/rail/parking/ for more information on where you can park including limited overnight parking at a few stations.
Law Enforcement: Please be aware that there are many different law enforcement jurisdictions in Washington D.C. and arrests may occur (as much as the Occupy Congress organizers are working to try and avoid them). There is no bail fund for the event and it is advised that participants meet with their local occupations to coordinate potential bail in advance. Please note that the average fine for civil disobedience in Washington D.C. is $100.00.
Where to go…
Welcome and information tents will be set up at Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square. While no one is required to “check-in,” it is advised that participants who arrive for Occupy Congress early stop by one of the two protest sites and pick up further, updated, information sheets and meet other occupiers.
Most buses that arrive in Washington D.C. will arrive into Union Station.
To get to Freedom Plaza from Union Station, take the Red Line toward Shady Grove and detrain at Metro Center. Take the 13th and G Street exit and walk south towards the Washington Monument. Turn right on Pennsylvania Avenue.
To get to McPherson Square from Union Station, take the Red Line toward Shady Grove and detrain at Farragut North. Take the K Street exit and walk east (left as you exit the station). McPherson Square is two blocks away.
Full information for download and printing available here. Occupy Congress Essential Info Sheet.