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Spin Control

Mon., Nov. 28, 2011, 1:37 p.m.

Spec Sess Day 1: Occupying the Senate gallery

Protesters "occupy" the Senate gallery on the first day of the special session (Jim Camden)

OLYMPIA -- After marching around a Capitol rotunda decorated with a Christmas tree and chanting "We are the 99 percent",  some 200 protesters decided to "occupy" the Senate gallery this afternoon. They filled the benches on both sides of the chamber and demanding the Legislature raise taxes rather than cut programs.

Using their human microphones -- a system in which one person says a phrase and dozens more repeat it -- demonstrators said they were the 99 percent, and the state should tax the affluent 1 percent.

"Washington state is one of the richest states in the richest country in the world," said one protester.

"It's one of only five states that doesn't have a corporate sales tax," said another. (That's actually not true; Washington is the only state that has what might be considered a type of corporate sales tax -- the business and occupation tax which is a tax on gross receipts. The protester likely meant corporate income tax, which is what other demonstraters used later in their shout-a-thon.)

"Let's not go home. Let's keep this going. We can stay here all week. Maybe next week," said another.

They may have to come back at least on Tuesday to get their message across, considering they "occupied" the galleries after the Senate had adjourned for the day.

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The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.