Early Saturday morning in Washington DC, the police raided the OccupyDC encampment in McPherson Square, two blocks from the White House.
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Photographer Lucian Perkins
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February 4, 2012
Early Saturday morning, the U.S. Park Police entered McPherson Square, only two blocks from the White House. Their stated mission was to remove the large tarp that OccupyDC had placed over the statue of General James B. McPherson. It had been raised to protest the announcement that the ban on camping in federal parks would be strictly enforced.
Previously, the relationship between the encampment and police had been genera ...
Previously, the relationship between the encampment and police had been generally good; protesters were given some leeway. But the authorities reversed their position after pressure from Republican Congressional leaders directed by Rep. Darrell Issa of California, ironically the wealthiest member of Congress with a net worth of over $450 million dollars.
Initially, Occupy DC cooperated with the Park Police and agreed to dismantle the tarp and have their tents inspected. In exchange, several Occupiers would be allowed to monitor these inspections. The police divided the park into quadrants and systematically started this process. But as the hours wore on, word spread from the monitors that the police were removing tents that passed code as well as ones that did not.
The demonstrators became upset, and when the police moved to another quadrant, Occupiers tried to block them. Violence then erupted throughout the day as officers continued to tear down tents and cart away bedding and protesters’ belongings, some with trash and dead rats.
By early evening, when the Park Police approached the last section of the park and moved in to clear out the Occupy Library, many protesters decided to make a last stand. They proved no match for the police who charged in, some on horses, and others on foot carrying shields and clubs. A few injuries and 11 arrests ensued, including one officer who was hit by a brick, and the arrest of photojournalist Jerry Nelson. As the Occupiers were pushed out onto K Street, they stood in a cold drizzle of sleet and rain, their numbers dwindling. Bewildered, they watched their camp being further dismantled.
PHOTOGRAPHS + TEXT by LUCIAN PERKINS / facingchange.org
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As usual Lucien kills it. Fantastic work and thanks for keeping this important story in front of our eyes
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