WASHINGTON - 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 at McPherson Square and at Freedom Plaza that those who violate the camping rule beginning Monday at noon will be subject to arrest. Protests began on October 1, 2011 at McPherson Square.
Just on Sunday, U.S. Park Police said an officer used an electronic stun gun on an Occupy DC protester who was tearing down posters warning others about the ban on camping at McPherson Square.
Sgt. David Schlosser, a park police spokesman, says the man ripped up the flier when he received it and then began tearing it off other tents. When police tried to arrest him, Schlosser said he was "aggressive and confrontational" and the stun gun was used. However, another Occupy DC participant told The Washington Post that the stun gun was unnecessary.
The man was ultimately charged with disorderly conduct.
Protesters have said they intend to stay at the two sites and defend their encampments. They also have been livetweeting with the #defend99 and #J30 hashtags and posting livestream URLs to update the public on their situations.
"We give shelter and voice to those who have had none," Occupy DC said on their official website. "Attempted foreclosure upon our home will not solve homelessness or improve our health and safety. Nor will it quiet us."
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.