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Riot Police Converge at Occupy DC: Inspection Develops into Eviction

*Above is the Occupy DC live stream. It is streaming live now and should be streaming intermittently throughout the day. Live streamers have been allowed to go beyond the police line to film the clearing of the park. They have to follow police parameters and abide by restrictions but it gives them the opportunity to expose how the Park Service is deciding what tents to tear down.

This is a stream you can watch of action in other parts of the park where occupiers are located.

[UPDATE – 12:28 PM] National Park Police “mic check” to occupier early this morning – video.

[UPDATE – 12:20 PM]

[UPDATE – 12:10 PM] Looks like a few from Occupy DC picked up their property including a tent and went to occupy in front of an ATM. Police on the scene now.

[UPDATE – 11:45 AM] Caption Contest — I’ll highlight the best ones later today in this post.

[UPDATE – 11:13 AM] Solid point just made on UStream. How does one distinguish between property there for visual and property there for personal use? Are they allowed to have chairs and inflatable mattresses and other materials to make it look like a camp to promote the message of Occupy? It appears the Park Police are telling Occupy DC with this crackdown “no.” But, again, all they were told was that they had to have one flap of the tent open. There could be no sleeping or any preparing to sleep.

[UPDATE – 11:00 AM] I still think there’s a difference between what the Park Service is doing here and what happened in New York and Los Angeles to Occupy Wall Street and Occupy LA. But, since the Park Police are now making up terms for what is and is not in compliance, I see little reason to maintain a distinction. Occupy DC is being clearly violated. Having books or a yoga mat in a tent is being considered “not in compliance.” They didn’t begin the morning activity like this. They indicated to occupiers hours ago they would just take materials inside tents. But, the tents are coming down and, in the winter, without tents it is harder to engage in First Amendment activities.

[UPDATE – 10:55 AM] Again, there are men in Hazmat suits at an occupation to take down tents that may be deemed a threat to public health. All of this just gives the impression that the Occupy movement is dirty, stinky, smelly.

The live streamers were allowed to embed. But, the live streamers are getting tired of the police-approved tag and they are tired of going where police tells them to go. They feel they are compromising their integrity and morals.  [cont’d.]

[UPDATE – 10:37 AM] I am watching the live stream and I am fully sympathetic to the frustration and anger of Occupy DC. They are taking tents that people were occupying, that belong to individuals and they are doing it even if there is no camping or sleeping materials. I still am not going to call this an eviction yet. When I see a report that the National Park Service is going to prevent occupiers from remaining in the Square to occupy 24/7, I will call it an eviction. What they are doing right now is not an eviction. What the NYPD and LAPD did was an eviction. The Park Service is simply cracking down arbitrarily on the encampment. They were bullied by politicians and are bowing to pressure.

[UPDATE – 10:35 AM] Here is a photo of police holding a map of the Occupy site. Occupiers believe this was planned well-ahead of now, which probably true. They had been preparing to make people “compliant” for weeks. They just didn’t until the GOP tried to humiliate the Park Service with a congressional hearing.

[UPDATE – 10:20 AM] More barricades going up around McPherson Square. Riot police had left but they have returned. The scene is escalating again, as many tents are being taken by the Park Service. They are calling some of the tents/gear being taken “biohazards.”

Police clad in riot gear from the National Park Service showed up to McPherson Square between 5 and 6 am ET. They arrived to make sure the occupiers were “in compliance” with the “no camping” rule for the park. They conducted an inspection of tents and seized any camping gear or sleeping materials they thought could be or were used to violate the rule.

Sara Shaw [@Sara_Jeans], a participant with Occupy DC, reported all streets around McPherson Square were blocked. They immediately went after a “Tent of Dreams” that was setup in the middle of the square earlier in the week on Monday when the Park Service was going to begin to enforce the “no camping” rule. The tent was surrounded. People inside refused to leave.

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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."