Occupy DC Forcefully Evicted, Protesters Injured, Arrested, Under Pressure from Congress’s Richest Member

February 10th, 2012

Published on AlterNet, by Jefferson Morley, February 5, 2012.

… What had started 12 hours earlier as a politically-tinged eviction of an unsanitary but entirely peaceful encampment had suddenly turned into an aggressive display of force by the National Park Police officers (including 24 officers bussed in from New York City).  

By late Saturday night, the occupiers of McPherson Square had been evicted. The 300 or so denizens of encampment–and several hundred supporters who rallied to their cause–were dispersed. Seven people were arrested in the course of the day. At least three people were injured. Your reporter lost his notebook but was otherwise unhurt.

The tent of dreams:

The battle of McPherson Square began at dawn on Saturday. Park Police officers had received a call around two in the morning saying duty called. They assembled at the intersection of 15th Street and K Streets at five in the morning and moved in to the OccupyDC camp within the hour. The first thing they told the protesters  that they would have to take down their Tent of Dreams, a massive blue sheet they had draped over the statuesque shoulders of Civil War general James McPherson in the center of the park.

The occupation of the park had begun 129 days before when a small group, inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York, had started camping on the grass and holding daily General Assemblies. Over the next four months, the camp grew to more than 100 tents and became a hub for protests targeting the city’s political elite, ranging from Congress, to the Chamber of Commerce to the Democratic National Congressional Committee … //

… As the rain continued to fall, 40 officers stood in a long line looking grim. The protesters called an impromptu general assembly in the middle of K Street. On the boulevard that houses the city’s leading law firms and lobbying shops, these young radicals reviewed the events of the day with yet another mic check.

“We have seen unprovoked violence toward the occupation in DC” began one speaker, and the crowd of perhaps 50 people repeated his words.  As  people recounted the best and the worst things about the day, their spirits seems to rise. “We changed the discourse of this city,” said one man. Another pointed out that President Obama lived less than two blocks, and the chant “Obama is responsible” went up. A third man criticized the movement for not cultivating local political allies who might have protected the camp.  ”It is time for us to take this occupation out into every neighborhood of this city,” he said. “On the edge of the crowd, Ryan Gomez, a perennially cheerful 24 year old occupier was shaking his head but smiling. “We’ll be back  tomorrow,” he  assured me. “This movement is not going away.”

As tempers cooled and rain let up, the agitated but proud protesters traded hugs, tears and stories while the stoic but equally proud cops retreated silently into the night, their mission accomplished. The ability of the federal government to clear the streets of peaceful protesters had been established, while those who speak for the 99 percent in the nation’s capital could boast they had exposed the face of 1% power. In the battle of McPherson Square both sides could claim a victory in a struggle that is sure to continue.

Voir video on YouTube: DC Occupiers Tumble as Police Clear Library Area, 6.16 minutes, uploaded by ebecker2000 on February 4, 2012: A face off between the United States Park Police, enforcing a no camping regulations at McPherson Park in Washington DC, and Occupiers …

(full long 3 pages text).

Link: Some résults on YouTube for Tent of Dreams.

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