Police Clear Tents From Occupy DC's McPherson Camp
By: Matt Laslo, Armando Trull
February 5, 2012
U.S. Park Police converged on Occupy DC's McPherson Square camp early Saturday morning.
Updated 11:55 a.m.: Metro says the Vermont Avenue side of the McPherson Square station is closed until further notice because of police activity.
Authorities say 11 people have been arrested in McPherson Square since Park Police began clearing away tents Saturday from one of the nation's last remaining Occupy sites, reports the Associated Press.
Updated 8:00 a.m.: Occupy DC protestors have moved into a new phase after U.S. Park Police cleared parts of McPherson Square Saturday morning.
Donning riot gear, authorities stood watch as sanitation workers tore down much of the encampment, though police maintain they are not evicting the protestors, and merely making sure they are in compliance with park rules. The protestors see things quite differently, especially as they stood by and watched their belongings being trampled on and discarded in garbage trucks.
D.C. resident Andrew Benthall and other protestors say they knew this day was coming.
"The fact they didn't do this back in November surprises me, because we're not as big as other Occupiers, but we are two blocks away from Barack Obama and the White House," says Benthall.
The protestors are vowing to continue their encampment indefinitely. And police say they still are allowed to be at McPherson Square, just not allowed to sleep and have permanent shelters on the grounds.
Original story: About hundred U.S. Park Police officers on horseback and in riot gear converged on Occupy DC's McPherson Square camp early this morning.
Officers placed barricades around McPherson Square, a federal park near the White House where demonstrators have camped since October. According to the Associated Press, authorities say they were not evicting the protesters, but instead were there to enforce a National Park Service ban on camping.
AP reports there were no clashes between police and protesters, though a Park Police spokesman says four people were arrested for disobeying a lawful order.
Police with masks on their faces went through the tents located at the base of the Major General James McPherson statue, looking for violations of the NPS ban on sleeping at the encampments.
They were removing wood, metal and other objects from beneath a big blue tarp draped around the statue. According to NBC Washington, protesters agreed to a request from police to remove the tarp called the "Tent of Dreams" early this morning.
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