Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Occupy DC camps remain as deadline passes
CNN reports: Defiant but festive, Occupy DC protesters hunkered down early today as a deadline passed for U.S. Park Police to begin enforcing a ban on camping in two Washington parks.
"We're just having a great party," said Occupy DC representative Sara Shaw. "We've camped since October so it's a lot like any other night. We're all staying awake and looking out for each other."
Until now, Occupy protesters have been allowed to remain under a Park Service interpretation that considered the activity a "24-hour vigil."
But on Friday, the National Park Service set a noon Monday deadline for protesters who have occupied the parks for months to remove their camping gear.
Park officials said protesters would be allowed to remain around the clock and keep up tents, so long as one side of each tent remains open at all times so they can see inside.
Early this morning, the scene at McPherson Park was largely quiet. Some milled around, with little hint of police presence.
"It's quiet because it's been a long day," said a person streaming the scene from the park using a wireless Internet connection. "A lot of people are sleeping."
Dozens huddled under what movement members were calling their "Tent of Dreams" -- a large blue tarp draped over the statue of the park's namesake, Civil War Gen. James B. McPherson.
"Let us sleep so we can dream," they chanted.
Blue tents dotted the grounds. "Eviction?? BRING IT!!" read one cardboard sign.
Another sign, scrawled in white paint on a blue tarp, said: "Evicted from home by the banks. Evicted from the tent by the police. 99% has no safe place to rest."
The threat of arrest didn't deter many in the Occupy DC movement. Many braced for a police raid, spurred by rumors on social media. But it never came.
In related news: Occupy Miami burns eviction notice from Miami-Dade County as sunset deadline looms.