Occupy D.C. protesters say they’ll defend their makeshift homes at McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza once the National Park Service begins enforcing a standing regulation prohibiting camping on federal parkland Monday at noon.
“Many of us will be likely to defend the park with the passion anyone would show defending their home,” Sam Jewler, a McPherson Square protester, told The Post’s Annie Gowen Friday.
In this webcam footage, Metropolitan Police are seen leading an arrested protester to a police car on Sunday in McPherson Square as a crowd gathers. YouTube video shows that the same protester was apparently subdued by use of a taser. (Jan. 30)
Occupy protest check-ins on Foursquare
Here are a few questions and answers about the Park Service’s move to enforce the restrictions:
Is this really an eviction?
It’s not an eviction. However, according to information on the fliers Park Service officers distributed in both parks, protesters must remove all evidence of camping. This includes bedding, storage containers and anything used to make a fire.
“We are about to enforce the camping regulations, but we are not evicting the Occupiers under any circumstances, unless there is an emergency,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said last Tuesday at a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing. The committee oversees the District.
What will happen to protesters who refuse to remove their camping gear?
They may be arrested and their property may be seized, according to Park Service officials.
Will the protesters have a curfew now?
Protesters may remain in the parks overnight, but they can’t sleep. Steve Whitesell, regional director for the Park Service’s National Capital Region, said in December that the protesters’ First Amendments rights to maintain a “24-hour vigil” should be protected.
Watch the Occupy D.C. live camera from McPherson Square.