Police in Riot Gear Raid Occupy Camp in DC
WASHINGTON, D.C–U.S. Park Police in riot gear entered the Occupy DC camp in McPherson Square in downtown Washington early Saturday.
An officer told the crowds that the police were not there to evict the protesters, but to check for compliance to the “no camping” laws.
The move comes after a federal judge Tuesday rejected an Occupy DC demonstrator’s request to keep park police from enforcing a ban on camping in McPherson park and nearby Freedom Plaza.
Living in a public park as a means of protest is not protected by the First Amendment, Judge James Boasberg ruled.
Authorities told protesters Monday that they had to remove camping gear such as sleeping bags and housekeeping materials, but could keep their tents as long as one flap remains open at all times.
The Occupy DC protesters urged supporters to join them for a “no-slumber party” Friday night in support of the right to camp — and sleep — in McPherson Square.
According to their website, they planned “a night of music and festivities to show solidarity with the community’s right to sleep as part of our struggle for a better world.”
Occupy DC is part of a larger activist movement that began last year in New York and quickly spread across the country.
While the protesters have highlighted a number of causes, the overarching theme has remained largely the same: populist anger over what activists portray as an out-of-touch corporate, financial and political elite.
(CNN’s Jonathan Helman contributed to this report.)