Occupy protesters barred from camping in DC squares

WASHINGTON Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:45pm EST

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The National Park Service will bar Occupy DC protesters from camping in the two parks where have been living since October, in a blow to one of the highest-profile chapters of the movement denouncing economic inequality.

The Occupy DC protesters must stop camping in McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza, both a few blocks from the White House, starting at about noon on Monday, the Park Service said on Friday.

The Park Service will start to enforce regulations that "prohibit camping and the use of temporary structures for camping in McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza," the agency said in a flyer distributed at the sites.

"Although 24/7 demonstration vigils and the use of symbolic temporary structures, including empty tents used as symbols of the demonstration, may be permitted in the park areas, camping and the use of temporary structures for camping is not."

The protesters have been in the two sites since around the start of October. They have spearheaded numerous protests in Washington, including a demonstration that drew hundreds of people to the Capitol this month.

The McPherson Square site has drawn increasing criticism from Congress and the District of Columbia administration.

The park bordering K Street, a symbol of Washington lobbyists, has been criticized because of squalor and rats, and the protesters' numbers have been swelled by homeless people.

Sara Shaw, a McPherson Square protester handling contacts with the media, said the group would discuss its response at an evening meeting. She said 50 to 100 people were living in the square.

Bob Vogel, superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, said in a statement: "The National Park Service takes very seriously its tradition of providing opportunities for First Amendment activities.

"We have a long history spanning several decades of 24-hour First Amendment vigils."

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Paul Thomasch)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (26)
“Bob Vogel, superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, said in a statement: “The National Park Service takes very seriously its tradition of providing opportunities for First Amendment activities.

‘We have a long history spanning several decades of 24-hour First Amendment vigils.’
————–
“Vigil” my arse. These folks are camped-out and have not only created a hazmat problem, but a health problem, with rodents, fleas, ticks and other creatures.

The time has come to replace Vogel for malfeasance. When it comes to “dancing” at the Jefferson Memorial, the NPS doesn’t have a problem locking-up and having citizens prosecuted who are expressing their “First Amendment vigil.”

Vogel, YOU LIE!!!

Jan 27, 2012 2:27pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Ratt wrote:
Camping out for four months is not protesting that’s squatting.

Jan 27, 2012 2:55pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Stan_DC101 wrote:
My son who is 23 has been part of the Occupy movement since the start. First of all I love my son as much as any father could, but saying that I cannot believe the amount of crap that the organizers have brainwash him with and what has become of him since. The hopes that I had for him in the future have vanished and the three years that I have put him through college seen now to be nothing but a waste. What prompted this letter is that a little over an hour ago he called wanting to come home because he had no place to stay. Here is a man with a promising career in the IT world, thrown away because of the slanted beliefs of those that care only for themselves. Pretty sad……

Jan 27, 2012 3:06pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Pictures