You are hereWashington Post: Occupy D.C. camp raided by police

Washington Post: Occupy D.C. camp raided by police

-By Annie Gowen

February 4, 2012- Eight protesters were arrested Saturday after a pre-dawn raid on the Occupy D.C. camp in McPherson Square, with dozens of police clearing away tents, bedding and dead rodents.

U.S. Park Police — on horseback and on foot with riot gear — swept into the park just after 5:30 a.m. A helicopter circled overhead, horses’ hooves clattered on the pavement and protesters ran through the camp trying to wake up those still sleeping.

Streets within two blocks of the downtown park were shut down because of the raid, which was characterized as “further enforcement” of a no-camping crackdown that began Monday.

There were tense moments. Late in the afternoon, a police officer was struck in the face by a thrown brick. A man was taken into custody in connection with the incident.

In McPherson Square, where protesters once slept, ate hot meals and snuggled in friendly “cuddle puddles,” they can now stay overnight only if they stay awake, keeping only unfurnished tents for the purpose of a round-the-clock vigil, police said.

“They can have the tents for symbolic purposes only. So long as there is compliance, we will have no issues,” said Sgt. David Schlosser, a Park Police spokesman. “Their First Amendment rights are paramount.”

Protesters and police at first interacted in good humor Saturday as they negotiated taking down the big, blue “Tent of Dreams,” which protesters had unfurled over a Civil War statue Monday. But relations grew tense as the day wore on and police began clearing the park of several truckloads of bedding and trash. At one point, dozens of officers pushed back the crowd with riot shields so they could erect more barricades.

“We’re being evicted without tear gas,” said Melissa Byrne, a protester from the District.



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