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Occupy DC Faces Ban on ‘Camping’ But Will Remain in McPherson Square (Live Blog)

LIVE STREAM FROM OCCUPY DC

[Update – 11:05 PM ET] No confrontations with police yet. But, here’s a graphic from the Washington Post showing the layout of McPherson Square now. And here is a recent development involving a Georgia man, who is seeking a restraining order against the Park Police’s ability to enforce the camping rule.

[Update – 8:00 PM ET] Occupy DC planted a tree for people to remember them by if they are removed from the park. They say they heard a rumor that there might be action at 11 pm tonight. I suspect there will be some level of confrontation in the middle of the night. That is really when Park Police will be expected by people like Rep. Darrell Issa or Rep. Trey Gowdy to be there. They are why the Park Service is now “enforcing” the camping rule. They bowed to GOP intimidation and did not defend their right to use “discretion” when enforcing the rule.

[Update – 5:00 PM ET] Fox News’ van was blocking a fire hydrant. Occupiers “cooperated” with police to get the van removed. They put a paper on the windshield and tried to do a “citizen’s arrest.” They mic-checked “Fox News: Slanted and Biased” and “What’s it like working for Satan?”

[Update – 4:02 PM ET] Occupy DC continues to stand strong. They believe no police action has happened yet because of the numbers they have in McPherson Square right now. I do not know what action they would be expecting. The Park Service only planned to enforce a rule from this point forward against “camping” so they can remain. Yet, many are going around as if they are going to be moved out of the Square by police.

Here is a petition that people are signing to “Save Occupy DC.” It has more than 18,000 signatures.

The message to the Park Service:

As Americans, we call on you to stop buckling to political pressure and to respect free speech on federal land. Tasing innocent people is repulsive — and telling Americans they have a right to protest 24 hours a day, but don’t have the ability to sleep, is dishonest and wrong. First Amendment rights trump camping rules. Leave Occupy DC alone.

This petition was started by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and includes the video of the occupier being tased for—well, it is hard to tell. From the looks of it, they might have decided to tase him cause he was wearing pajama pants.

[Update – 4:00 PM ET]

[Update – 2:00 PM ET] As of now, police have indicated occupiers are for the most part complying with the “no camping” rule. The scene will be calm for now. The occupation will continue, though the “Tent of Dreams” may spur more conflict later.

[Update – 1:35 PM ET]

[Update – 1:25 PM ET] Using McPherson statue to hold up the “Tent of Dreams.” Hundreds gathered under this earlier.

[Update – 1:21 PM ET] Tent monster guy is on the scene.

[Update  – 1:20 PM ET] No notable confrontations in the park yet. A Park Service commanding officer will be addressing the press soon with an announcement.

Original Post

The scene at McPherson Square as the noon deadline passes.

There is a lot of hype being promoted by media that seems eager for another police versus protester showdown. Headlines are mistakenly reporting that Occupy DC faces an “eviction” at noon today. There is no “eviction” from the park today. Occupy DC will be allowed to remain in McPherson Square on K Street, where they have been for over three months now. However, after Rep. Darrell Issa & others on the House Oversight & Reform Committee began to vilify the leadership of the National Park Service, the Park Service eventually bowed to pressure and will not be permitting “camping” anymore.

Occupy DC and an encampment at Freedom Plaza called Occupy Washington DC both face a noon deadline that has passed. As CNN reports, the Park Service “will allow tents to remain in the parks, but protesters must remove camping gear and leave one side of the tents open at all times.” The gear will have to be gone, but the Park Service will allow tents, which have become a symbol of the movement, to stay up in the park.

What happens next largely depends on what Occupy DC does. So, here is a portion of the statement they have written indicating they will hold their ground and stay in the public square and some may even assert their right to “camp”:

We give shelter and voice to those who have had none. Attempted foreclosure upon our home will not solve homelessness or improve our health and safety. Nor will it quiet us.

At a time in American history when corporations are deemed to be people and money is considered free speech, structures sustaining people who are working to improve our democracy should be equally protected by society. Occupy DC is a voice for the 99%, whose voices have been kept out of the back rooms and muzzled in our economic and political conversations.

It’s no accident that the 1% earned 60 percent of all new income in the last three decades. The system is rigged against us, the 99%, and it will take more than voting to fix. On Monday we will defend free speech and our vision of a just society from attempted repression by the 1% – by any peaceful means necessary.

Those deemed to be “camping” will face arrest or citation. One should understand that the National Park Service is clear about how it regards enforcing rules against “camping.” It will not be removing hundreds of people out of McPherson Square for this violation. Park Police will simply walk around the park, find people they think are “camping,” determine whether they are or not by the gear they have with their tent and then that person will be warned, asked to leave or arrested for camping. As National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis indicated in a congressional hearing on Occupy DC last week, “camping” is not a violation a whole group can commit. (For a full report on the hearing on “indefinite camping,” which led to this moment, go here.)

Jarvis was very respectful of the right of occupiers to remain in McPherson Square. Issa and others are hoping if the Park Service enforces this rule the occupiers will leave K Street so they can go back to meeting lobbyists in peace. These congressmen would like nothing better than to see protesters taunt and aggressively confront Park Police, who come to the public square today to see if occupiers are in compliance.

I do not think Occupy DC should have to remove camping gear. I do not think there should be bans on sleeping. I think the tents, camping gear and the sleeping is part of the protest and is not “camping.”

Occupiers are not campers. They are not resting and relaxing. Nobody would willingly choose to “camp” in a public square in DC. They would go to a park with wilderness that they could enjoy, away from the concrete jungle that is home to the coyotes, wolves and vultures of K Street.

I do think Issa has declared war on the Occupy movement in Washington and if Occupy DC wants to survive they have to turn this back around on him by fully complying with the National Park Service. They have to show discipline and restraint when talking to Park Police.

Issa wants to shut down the lawful assembly and won’t stop until Occupy DC is gone. If Occupy DC can make it to Tuesday or Wednesday, they can further expose Issa as a man who has contempt for citizens who are fighting for a more equitable and just society. They can show it was never about “camping” for Issa but about the corporations and special interests that he works for, which fear the growing power of the Occupy movement on politics in America.

The occupiers are already making Issa look like a goon. They have put up a huge “Tent of Dreams” and are talking about their vision for a better society that takes care of people. They have a huge crowd gathered with them. They are showing how much support they have and how they are tired of politicians like Issa, who spend political capital going after displays of people power rather than abuses and crimes committed by those with unchecked corporate power.

CommunityFDL Main BlogThe Dissenter

Occupy DC Faces Ban on “Camping” But Will Remain in McPherson Square (Live Blog)

The scene at McPherson Square as the noon deadline passes.

There is a lot of hype being promoted by media that seems eager for another police versus protester showdown. Headlines are mistakenly reporting that Occupy DC faces an “eviction” at noon today. There is no “eviction” from the park today.

Occupy DC will be allowed to remain in McPherson Square on K Street, where they have been for over three months now. However, after Rep. Darrell Issa & others on the House Oversight & Reform Committee began to vilify the leadership of the National Park Service, the Park Service eventually bowed to pressure and will not be permitting “camping” anymore.

Occupy DC and an encampment at Freedom Plaza called Occupy Washington DC both face a noon deadline that has passed. As CNN reports, the Park Service “will allow tents to remain in the parks, but protesters must remove camping gear and leave one side of the tents open at all times.” The gear will have to be gone, but the Park Service will allow tents, which have become a symbol of the movement, to stay up in the park.

Occupy DC will be allowed to remain in McPherson Square on K Street, where they have been for over three months now. However, after Rep. Darrell Issa & others on the House Oversight & Reform Committee began to vilify the leadership of the National Park Service, the Park Service eventually bowed to pressure and will not be permitting “camping” anymore.

Occupy DC and an encampment at Freedom Plaza called Occupy Washington DC both face a noon deadline that has passed. As CNN reports, the Park Service “will allow tents to remain in the parks, but protesters must remove camping gear and leave one side of the tents open at all times.” The gear will have to be gone, but the Park Service will allow tents, which have become a symbol of the movement, to stay up in the park.

What happens next largely depends on what Occupy DC does. So, here is a portion of the statement they have written indicating they will hold their ground and stay in the public square and some may even assert their right to “camp”:

We give shelter and voice to those who have had none. Attempted foreclosure upon our home will not solve homelessness or improve our health and safety. Nor will it quiet us.

At a time in American history when corporations are deemed to be people and money is considered free speech, structures sustaining people who are working to improve our democracy should be equally protected by society. Occupy DC is a voice for the 99%, whose voices have been kept out of the back rooms and muzzled in our economic and political conversations.

It’s no accident that the 1% earned 60 percent of all new income in the last three decades. The system is rigged against us, the 99%, and it will take more than voting to fix. On Monday we will defend free speech and our vision of a just society from attempted repression by the 1% – by any peaceful means necessary.

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."

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