Occupy Alexandria protest is sparse, quiet

A protester from the Occupy movement listens to a fellow demonstrator at Market Square in Old Town Alexandria Tuesday after walking about 100 miles from Richmond. (David Sachs)

In what was quite possibly the smallest rally of the Occupy movement, about 10 drenched demonstrators gathered at Old Town’s Market Square before heading off to their parent-protest in Washington’s McPherson Square Tuesday.

Most of them walked from Richmond, where they left seven days prior.

“We’ve just been talking to people, a lot of people, literally the whole way,” said demonstrator Burt Ritchie. “People can’t talk to each other anymore and that’s what we’re trying to change.”

Participants shared personal stories about homelessness, insurance injustice and corporate greed with one another during “speak-outs.” A few locals meandered to and from the gathering, either in support of or to ogle at the protesters. At least one Alexandrian was there to encourage the protest itself, if not the vague and various causes behind it.

“I’m here to support them,” said Rick Newton, and Alexandrian, Starbucks cup in hand. “I wouldn’t know what jumping into the movement would be, but I’m here to support the very need for protest. We have a patriotic duty to protest.”

Several Alexandria police officers posted up at Market Square to protect the demonstrators and maintain order, but it wasn’t necessary; the marchers fizzled out at 3 p.m. and the faction headed north the nation’s capital.