District Mayor Vincent Gray said Thursday that the public is starting "to lose patience" with the “Occupy DC” protests that are increasingly blocking traffic.
About 60 people were arrested Wednesday night after a rush-hour protest caused massive traffic jams downtown.
Appearing on a NBC4 "Viewpoint" program being taped Thursday, the mayor said he wants to protect First Amendment rights, but said the city will enforce the law.
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“We arrested 62 people [Wednesday] for breaking the law," Gray said. "We’re not going to tolerate that. People are increasingly losing their patience because of the infringement on business, as they see it, here in the city.
“It’s a very delicate balance. We’re walking a fine line," Gray continued. "We support their right, of course, to exercise their First Amendment right. But at the same time we will not tolerate the breaking of the law.“
Both the D.C. police and the U.S. Park Police here in the nation’s capital have taken a much more “hands off” approach to the almost daily demonstrations. There are two campsites, one at McPherson Square at 15th and K Streets downtown, and another at Freedom Plaza at 14th and Pennsylvania.
On the Viewpoint program, Gray answered a wide-ranging list of questions about public safety, education reform, jobs and economic development, as well as the status of three separate ethics investigations of Gray and two D.C. council members by U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen.
The Viewpoint program will air Sunday at 7 a.m.