WASHINGTON - Eleven people have been arrested in Washington’s McPherson Square since Park Police began clearing tents from one of the nation’s last remaining Occupy protest sites, authorities said yesterday.
David Schlosser, a spokesman for the US Park Police, said one of those arrested was charged with felony assault on a police officer and assault with a deadly weapon. That person is accused of hitting an officer in the face with a brick Saturday night. The officer was treated at a hospital.
Three others were charged with assault on a police officer.
Schlosser said the site was mostly peaceful yesterday and officials were continuing to clear the park of tents and restore sanitary conditions.
The protesters vowed to continue their demonstration and urged followers to remain nonviolent.
The police said they were enforcing a National Park Service ban on camping. They are removing wood, metal, and other objects from beneath a big blue tarpaulin on a park draped around a statue in the center of the park.
After months of tolerating the protesters and protecting their right to sleep in the park, the National Park Service announced that it would enforce a camping ban. It took effect last Monday, although police did not immediately break up or otherwise disrupt the encampment.
The Washington demonstration is among the last remaining Occupy sites, enjoying special First Amendment protections because of its location on park service property. The rules permit protesters to remain onsite at all hours with tents, but bar them from camping or laying down bedding material.
Dozens have been camped since Oct. 1 in McPherson Square, just blocks from the White House.