Occupy D.C. protesters in standoff with Park Police

Hundreds of Occupy D.C. protesters stood in solidarity at Washington's McPherson Square Monday as U.S. Park Police began enforcement of its no-camping regulation.

The National Park Service released a statement Friday announcing that the U.S. Park Police would begin enforcement "on or about noon," stating that "[a]ny temporary structure used for camping will be subject to seizure."

When police arrived and were met by the hundreds of protesters and more than 100 media and spectators, however, they declined to take immediate action.

As a symbol of their message, occupiers placed a blue tarp over the statue of General McPherson emblazoned with the words "Tent of Dreams." They chanted, "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out."

"We have so much stuff that's to divide us, yet so much stuff that's bringing us together," Occupy protester Carl McClinton, 26, said. "We have so much common ground - we are the 99 percent."

McClinton said he arrived at the Occupy camp "when there were three tents" and believes that camaraderie is what attracts people to the national movement. There are more than 60 tents set up today.

U.S. Park Police Sergeant David Schlosser said in a public statement that the tarp over the statue is a violation of compliance regulation, which will be enforced if it is not removed.

After occupiers uttered their grievances on Monday, fellow protesters repeated them in unison.

"I am here because I think that it is wrong that speech is considered to be money," one male protester shouted. "I am here because I think it is wrong that corporations are considered to be people."

Schlosser, from the Park Police, reiterated Monday that the Park Police's goal is not disband the Occupy movement, but to achieve compliance with federal regulations.

"What this demonstrates is that the United States Park Police and the National Park Service firmly support ongoing, long-term First Amendment activities," Schlosser said. "These long-term regulations have demonstrated to be reasonable and prudent, and we have compliance from people that have been able to comply with these regulations in excess of three decades."

In the face of the Park Police Monday, the occupiers were adamant that they would be heard, chanting, "We are unstoppable. Another world is possible."

As of mid-afternoon Monday, the Park Police had not taken any action to remove the tents, and were engaged in a peaceful standoff with the protesters. Some protesters have moved their tents of their own accord.

  • Chad Sinclair

Comments

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.