Thanks in large part to Darrell Issa (R-CA) and his House Oversight Committee, the National Park Service will begin enforcing a ban on camping at two different Occupy DC locations next week.
On Friday afternoon the Occupy DC camps at Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square were given notices that they would no longer be able to sleep or prepare to sleep in the parks.
The Park Service gave a noon Monday deadline for when they’ll begin enforcing the camping ban, according to the notice taped to Occupiers’ tents. The ban, which is written into park regulations, has not been enforced since occupiers sent up tents at McPherson and Freedom on October 6.
The two camps, both located within a block of the White house, are the last remaining large Occupy encampments in the United States. Now it appears their eviction will be slow and anti-climatic as Park Police pick off protesters they deem campers.
On Friday night a group of about 75 protesters gathered for a general assembly at McPherson to discuss their response.
Occupy DC’s lawyer, Jeff Light, notified protesters if they didn’t want to be arrested they should not have a sleeping bag or personal belongings inside a tent.
“It’s clear to me they want to end this encampment,” said David Givens, “Is this something we want to defend or should we let this slide?”
"We need to force the Park Police to evict," said another protester, whose name I didn’t get. He said the Park Police are federal and under Obama, “If he wants to kick off his campaign with this, let’s make him own it.”
Lash, the head of the fun committee, said he and a small group of people would be staying in the park. They would not sleep for as long as humanly possible.
Brian Eister, a man who I’ve seen get arrested at the Supreme Court protesting Citizens United and at the White House protesting the NDAA, said, “We can’t be a bunch of spoiled American kids who are down for the revolution as long as it’s easy.”
Earlier, Eister said he was willing to get arrested as many times as it took to get across his belief that today’s political system is controlled by the influence of money.
One man, who came in with a group of about 50 people riding bicycles in the middle of the GA, told the crowd this movement is about the hijacking of our political system. He said this ban is being enforced thanks to the pressure of Darrell Issa.
“We should take Darrell Issa’s office and Occupy it,” he said.
On the other hand, one protester told me the camp had turned into a squat and eviction from the camp might help to refocus the group on the issues. At the same time he said protesters should use Monday as an opportunity to do something symbolic.
“We need to make a statement,” he said.
At the end of the General Assembly the protesters agreed to meet on Saturday afternoon to discuss specific plans for a large protest that will begin at Lafayette Park on Sunday.