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Galindez writes: "Officials from the Park Service told the committee they would begin to enforce the camping regulation in McPherson Square soon, with no mention of Freedom Plaza, but the warnings were issued in both locations."

Occupy DC has been given marching orders by the US Park Police. (photo: Scott Galindez/RSN)
Occupy DC has been given marching orders by the US Park Police. (photo: Scott Galindez/RSN)



Both DC Occupations Facing Eviction Monday

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

28 January 12


Reader Supported News | Perspective

 

Occupy Wall Street: Take the Bull by the Horns

 

he United States Park Service, under pressure from Congressional Republicans, issued warnings to both Occupy encampments in Washington DC today that overnight sleeping would no longer be tolerated. The warnings were issued within days of a Congressional hearing chaired by Rep. Darryl Issa where Republicans pressed the Park Service to enforce Federal regulations against camping in undesignated areas.

Officials from the Park Service told the committee they would begin to enforce the camping regulation in McPherson Square soon, with no mention of Freedom Plaza, but the warnings were issued in both locations. The Washington Post reported earlier that a Park Service spokesperson told them camping citations would be issued, but there would not be a full-scale eviction.

The notice the Occupiers received today indicates otherwise. The notice reads:

This communication serves as notice that, on or about noon, January 30, 2012, the United States Park Police will commence enforcement of the long-standing National Park Service (NPS) regulations that prohibit camping and the use of temporary structures for camping in McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza. The NPS has repeatedly advised participants in both parks of the camping regulations, and had sought voluntary compliance. On or about noon, January 30, 2012, if camping violations are observed, individual violators may be subject to arrest and their property subject to seizure as evidence. Any temporary structure used for camping also will be subject to seizure as an abatement of a public nuisance, and may be reclaimed by the property owner between the hours of 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at the Park Police D-1 Station located at 960 Ohio Drive, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024, if done within the 60 days. Items determined to be trash or a bio-hazard, however, will be disposed of as refuse, so you are advised to promptly dispose of any such items.

NPS REGULATIONS PROHIBIT THE FOLLOWING:

1. CAMPING, defined as the "use of park land for living accommodation purposes such as sleeping activities, or making preparations to sleep (including the laying down of bedding for the purpose of sleeping) or storing personal belongings, or making any fire, or using any tents or shelter or other structure or vehicle for sleeping or doing any digging or earth breaking . . . ." Title 36 CFR § 7.96(i)(1). 2. USE OF TEMPORARY STRUCTURES FOR CAMPING: "Temporary structures may not be used outside designated camping areas for living accommodation activities such as sleeping, or making preparations to sleep (including the laying down of bedding for the purpose of sleeping), or storing personal belongings, or making any fire, or doing any digging or earth breaking or carrying on cooking activities. The above-listed activities constitute camping when it reasonably appears, in light of all the circumstances that the participants, in conducting these activities, are in fact using the area as a living accommodation regardless of the intent of the participants or the nature of any other activities in which they may also be engaging . . . ." Title 36 CFR § 7.96(g)(5)(vi).

The NPS camping regulation has been upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court. The NPS has a long and proud tradition of providing opportunities for the exercise of First Amendment rights, but it also is obligated to protect our important cultural and natural resources. Although 24/7 demonstration vigils and the use of symbolic temporary structures, including empty tents used as symbols of the demonstration, may be permitted in the park areas, camping and the use of temporary structures for camping is not.

TO COMPLY WITH NPS CAMPING REGULATIONS, YOU MUST DO THE FOLLOWING:

1. Remove all camping material from the park, AND

2. Leave one side of all temporary structures open at all times to ensure public health and safety and to allow NPS personnel to monitor compliance with camping regulations.

We will see if the Park Service issues citations as they have previously stated, or begins making arrests on Monday.

McPherson Square protester Sam Jewler said that some of the Occupiers would be willing to risk arrest Monday.

"Many of us will be likely to defend the park with the passion anyone would show defending their home," Jewler said. "We are fighting for the betterment of DC, America and the world, and we intend to continue using our First Amendment rights to do so."

Occupiers are meeting at both camps to plan their response. People are encouraged to come to both camps on Monday at noon to help them hold on to the spaces.

I will update this article if any other actions are called for.


Scott Galindez was formerly the co-founder of Truthout, and is now the Political Director of Reader Supported News.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

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+5 # Scott Galindez 2012-01-28 23:28
Both camps are gathering at 10am in Lafayette Park, in front of the white house to protest the eviction notice. Join us if you can.
 

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