WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Park Police warned Occupy protesters Friday they must stop camping at two Washington parks on Monday or risk arrest.
The National Park Service distributed fliers to protesters at McPherson Square on K Street and at Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue. The notice said protesters must comply with regulations that prohibit camping at those sites. The park service has said it has a history of accommodating 24-hour vigils and protests.
The new move comes after a House oversight subcommittee hearing Tuesday where Republican lawmakers questioned why camping has been allowed since October. 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.
In the flier, the park service defines camping as using park land for “living accommodation purposes such as sleeping.” It says camping materials must be removed and temporary structures must be left open to allow for inspection.
Protester John Penley, who joined the Freedom Plaza occupation after protesting last fall in New York’s Zuccotti Park as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement, said protesters will defend both Washington encampments at the federally controlled parks on Monday.
“We’re not going away,” he said, “and we’ve got people coming from other areas to support us.”
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