Update, 3 p.m.: After hours of discussion Tuesday afternoon, protesters decided against removing the “Tent of Dreams” themselves but to offer no resistance as a group if police move in to take it down. Individual acts of civil disobedience are possible. But Mother Nature threatened to make the entire issue moot, as the wind ripped at the tent all afternoon.
Members of the Occupy D.C. encampment at McPherson Square say they will discuss Tuesday afternoon whether to remove the “Tent of Dreams” tarp after U.S. Park Police officers asked them to remove it earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, the National Park Service said it has no immediate plans to close down the Occupy protests, its lawyer said at a hearing at U.S. District Court this morning. But they stated that they’ll give the protesters notice if they decide to move to clear the park of compliant "vigil" tents going forward, unless there is an emergency.
On Monday, protesters placed a large blue tarp over a statue of Civil War Major General James McPherson. Police say the tent violates long-standing anti-camping rules, which they began enforcing Monday at McPherson and another Occupy encampment at Freedom Plaza. Under that rule, protesters can maintain a 24-hour vigil in the parks but not sleep there.
Video of the “Tent of Dreams:”
The officers did not give a specific deadline for protesters to remove the tarp. Sam Jewler, an unofficial spokesman and protester with the McPherson contingent, said he was unsure whether the group would decide to remove the tent.
“If we do cooperate on the Tent of Dreams, maybe they’ll relax the standards on stuff like the no-camping rule,” he said.
Staff writer Annie Gowen contributed to this report.
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