U.S. Park Police plan to begin enforcing a no-camping rule at two Washington sites where Occupy protesters have been demonstrating for months.
The National Park Service has warned the protesters Friday at McPherson Square and at Freedom Plaza that those who violate the camping rule beginning Monday at noon will be subject to arrest.
At noon protesters unfurled a large tent over the main statue at McPherson Square that included the words "Tent of Dreams." Many protesters gathered around chanting and singing.
Park Police told News4 they were attempting to get demonstrators to voluntarily comply with the no-camping rule. In a media briefing before 1 p.m., Park Police spokesperson David Schlosser said no arrests had been made, and noted that many had already removed camping equipment and demonstrated compliance.
One day earlier, a protester in McPherson Square was tasered and then arrested after a confrontation with law enforcement. The incident was captured on video posted on YouTube. In the video, the man can be heard yelling at officers, "We all know you're coming tomorrow."
District Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton called on demonstrators to cooperate with the NPS as they move to enforce camping regulations in the public spaces.
She said she hoped demonstrators on Monday will respond, “with the same respect and civility that NPS and the District of Columbia have shown to Occupy DC.” She did offer demonstrators praise for their past responsiveness to lawmakers' concerns.
Some protesters have said they intend to stay at the two sites and defend their encampments.
The enforcement comes after a House oversight subcommittee hearing last week where Republican lawmakers questioned why the park service has allowed occupy protesters to camp for months on federal land. National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis said protesters have a right to be in the park and won't be evicted, but they will be encouraged to sleep elsewhere.
In a release on Friday, the Park Service said protesters have a legal right to demonstrate at Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square, but overnight camping is prohibited. "Twenty-four hour" vigils are permitted, as long as demonstrators are not sleeping in the park.