At a rainy Occupy DC march in downtown Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, tempers flared between dreadlocked, leather jacket-wearing Occupiers and their older, more clean-cut union allies.
An altercation began when members of the younger, dirtier crowd pretended to carry a Maine State Employees Association (MSEA) sign in a quickly identified attempt to run off with it. The MSEA is a local of the Service Employees International Union.
“That’s union-paid-for property!” one purple-clad SEIU demonstrator yelled.
The blonde, dreadlocked and face-pierced demonstrator was undeterred: “You are hijacking our movement! You aren’t occupiers!”
As the crowds began to split, self-appointed, orange-vested “safety marshals” were called to protect the union’s property from the “99 percent.”
“SEIU has supported Occupy from the beginning,” Maine SEIU organizer Bill MacDonald told a marshal.
“If there are any altercations,” he warned, “the police are our fraternal brothers and sisters.”