Park Police Sweep Occupy Sites

Worked through Freedom Plaza on Sunday

Monday, Feb 6, 2012  |  Updated 9:33 PM EDT
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The Occupy D.C. camp at McPherson square turned violent Saturday night when police say a protester threw a brick at a U.S. Park Police officer.

NBC Washington

The Occupy D.C. camp at McPherson square turned violent Saturday night when police say a protester threw a brick at a U.S. Park Police officer.

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Police Sweep Occupy DC Camp

National Park Police descended on McPherson Square early Saturday for what they call a "sweep" of Occupy DC camps. As News4's Derrick Ward reports, there were some tense moments as officers and protestors squared off.

Warning Notices Issued at Occupy DC

Warning notices were handed out and posted Friday at the Occupy DC encampments at McPherson Square and Freedom Square.
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On Sunday, U.S. Park Police inspected and removed tents from Freedom Plaza, one day after sweeping through Occupy D.C.'s McPherson Square protest site.

Throughout the weekend, authorities have been dismantling tents that they deem health hazards in the interest of enforcing National Park Service regulations that prohibit camping at both sites.

Over the weekend, Park Police stressed that they were not evicting protesters, and wanted to respect their First Amendment rights. The National Park Service, which oversees both McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza, has maintained that protesters are allowed to hold 24-hour vigils on its grounds, but are not allowed to camp out.

At least one officer was injured after a protester threw a liquid-filled soda bottle -- not a brick as originally reported -- at his face as authorities removed tents from the Occupy D.C. protest site Saturday. 

The officer was treated for facial injuries and released from an area hospital, according to investigators. The protester was arrested and charged with felony assault on a police officer and assault with a deadly weapon. In all, 12 people were arrested in the park over Saturday and early Sunday evening.

The McPherson Square removal operation, which lasted through the day and into Saturday night, began after protesters agreed to a request from U.S. Park Police to remove a giant tarp called the "Tent of Dreams" early Saturday morning.

Protesters originally unfurled the large tent over the statue of Major General James McPherson shortly after noon on Monday. That action came in response to a National Park Service notice that stated that the Park Service would begin enforcing rules against camping in both McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza at noon on that day.

Before dawn Saturday, Park Police and D.C. Police converged on McPherson Square and asked protesters to remove the "Tent of Dreams" from the statue, a request to which protesters agreed.

Later in the morning, police in biohazard suits began to break down tents around the campsite, encountering little resistance. A federal judge ruled earlier in the week that Occupy D.C. would need to be notified if the government intended to evict them and could challenge any planned eviction.

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