Police Finally Begin Clearing Occupy D.C.

Kevin Glass
Posted: Feb 04, 2012 4:22 PM
On Saturday, D.C. police are finally getting around to clearing out the rat-infested trash heap that is sometimes referred to as "Occupy D.C." Many tents remained in defiance of a ban on camping and had recently defaced a statue of General McPherson in the middle of McPherson Square. Police, however, were very careful in their operation.

The police used barricades to cordon off sections of McPherson Square, a park under federal jurisdiction near the White House, and checked tents for mattresses and sleeping bags and sifted through piles of garbage and other belongings. Some wore yellow and white biohazard suits to guard against diseases identified at the site in recent weeks. Officials also have raised concerns about a rat infestation.

Police by mid-day had arrested four people who refused to move from beneath a statute and two others who crossed a police line.

The National Park Service, which has allowed the protesters to remain in the park for months, has said it will give protesters notice if police decide to clear the park. Police on Saturday were careful to say they were not evicting anyone or closing the park, but were instead stepping up enforcement of an existing ban on camping.

Occupy D.C. has been serving as one of the remaining permanent encampments of the Occupy movement nationwide, as the National Park Service and the D.C. police force had tolerated their existence for months. After reports of rat infestations, Occupy D.C. seemed to reach a tipping point against them from authorities, who have been getting serious about cleaning up the encampment.

The Washington Examiner's offices are right on the square of Occupy D.C. and were able to capture video of riot police thinning the herds of protesters.