On Wednesday night, Republican presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich held a fundraiser at the posh Willard InterContinental hotel in downtown Washington, DC. Waiting there for Gingrich were a few dozen protesters. Around 7 p.m., they snuck through an unlocked back door to the candlelit ballroom hosting the Gingrich affair and caused a ruckus. An email from the Service Employees International Union alerted me to the protest, and I joined them as they crashed the fundraiser.
Inside, the protesters squeezed out a few testimonials on the megaphone and chants of “We are the 99 percent!” before being confronted and ejected from the room—or, in my case, pushed out of the room—by hotel security and other suited individuals.
Earlier, protesters had gathered outside the front doors of the Willard, chanting, “The poor get poorer, the rich get rich, that’s the platform of Gingrich.” They hoisted a “We are the 99%” banner, and the hotel locked several of its entrances.
The Gingrich fundraiser protest was part of “Take Back the Capitol,” a five-day, 99-percent-themed series of protests targeting lawmakers at popular fundraising and deal-making spots in DC, including the Capitol Hill Club, a GOP haunt, and Charlie Palmer Steakhouse, a favorite lunch spot for lobbyists and legislators a stone’s throw from Capitol. On Tuesday night, protesters lined the entrance to the swanky Lincoln restaurant to protest a fundraiser thrown by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). At least a dozen were arrested on Wednesday during a march on K Street, the symbolic heart of DC’s lobbying industry.
The protesters’ schedule includes a full day of events on Thursday, including actions at the Capitol Hill Club and elsewhere around DC. But no 1-percenter knows where they might strike next.