Occupy Iowa protesters who have been camping out for weeks at a Des Moines park say they'll ask people across the country to protest this winter at candidates' headquarters in the final weeks before the state's leadoff presidential caucuses.
The Iowa caucuses are scheduled for Jan. 3.
The Des Moines Register (http://bit.ly/s465nm) reported that a group of the protesters voted Monday night to put out the call to like-minded activists, asking them to endure a cold Iowa winter to make their views known to candidates who flock to the state.
Frank Cordaro, a longtime Des Moines activist and former Catholic priest, suggested the idea, saying if activists aren't allowed into campaign offices, they could block entrances.
"You go inside or if they won't let you in, you shut 'em down. You sit in front of their doors," Cordaro said.
Seven Republican candidates have offices scattered through suburban areas of Des Moines. President Barack Obama has an office in downtown Des Moines, about a mile from the park where activists have been camping.
The Occupy Iowa protests are part of the weeks-old Occupy movement that began in New York to protest corporate influence in government and the growing gap between rich and poor.
Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn questioned the idea of targeting the caucuses, which are held at about 1,800 spots across the state and mark the first votes cast for presidential candidates. Although the votes are nonbinding, candidates campaign hard for the event in hopes that a win will give them a burst of publicity that will lead to later victories in New Hampshire and other early voting states.
"It's ironic that this group would choose to disrupt the most grassroots-oriented process in national politics — the Iowa caucuses," Strawn said.
Ed Fallon, an Occupy Iowa organizer and former Democratic state legislator, said activists are still figuring out details of their campaign occupation plans.
"It could be inside, it could be outside," Fallon said. "The idea is to basically take over until we get response to our satisfaction or we are forcibly removed."