United States Park Police bearing riot gear and on horse back raided Occupy DC Saturday morning and throughout the day, removing tents that were deemed to be in violation of a no camping rule at McPherson Square. Park Police spokesperson Sgt. David Schlosser said the raid did not constitute an eviction and that protesters would be allowed to continue activities at the park as long as they complied with the no camping rule.
Six protesters had been arrested as of about four o’clock this afternoon — two for crossing a police barricade and four for violating police orders — but the majority were “very cooperative” as police moved through the park, Schlosser said. Two more were arrested later, according to various reports. Park Police moved methodically through the park, closing sections at a time while the rest remained open, using riot shields and sticks to move protesters as Park Service employees in hazardous materials suits cleared and removed tents.
At different times, small groups of protesters collided with police, who pushed protesters back with riot shields. One police officer was struck by a brick in the face and taken to the hospital. At one point, multiple protesters were struck by riot sticks as they clashed with police moving through the park. Watch:
One protester said Police had offered a compromise, telling Occupy DC that if they removed the giant tarp covering the statue at the center of the park — known as the tent of dreams — police would not confiscate tents. Schlosser would not confirm or deny that such a deal had been proposed, saying only that notices had been provided to protesters telling them that noncompliant tents were subject to removal.
According to the notice, tents must be free of sleeping materials and remain open on one side at all times to stay in compliance with Park Police regulations.