A brief altercation broke out between Occupy Wall Street protesters and conservative activists at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.
A group of Occupy protesters who infiltrated the hotel by registering and paying for the conference blocked a television screen where an overflow crowd was watching Mitt Romney address the convention, their mouths taped over to symbolize being silenced.
There was a brief clash between the protesters and conference-goers, who booed and yelled while shoving them out of the way. Security was summoned to the scene and escorted out the protesters, to the applause and cheering of the conservative activists.
"Occupy a job," they shouted.
No one appeared to be seriously injured.
Outside the conference, hundreds of protesters were blocking the street in front of the hotel, sitting in the road, chanting and drumming. A heavy law enforcement presence is on hand, and police were warning both protesters and journalists that they would be arrested if they ventured onto private property.
The protesters appear to be mostly union-organized, carrying banners signifying public worker unions, an elevator mechanics union and a steel workers union. They have erected a giant inflated "fat cat," dressed in a suit, strangling a gangly man. A group of men dressed in baseball uniforms have lined themselves in front of the blow-up cat with shirts reading "Tax Dodgers."
Unlike other Occupy protests that have taken place in Washington, D.C., and across the country, there appears to be deep racial undertones to the one taking place at CPAC. About a hundred African-Americans gathered around a man standing on an upside-down recycling bin while he shouted about ancestry into a megaphone and chanted, "Our DC, our America."
At the entrance to the hotel, CPAC attendees stood gaping at the crowd below and taking photographs on smartphones.