Occupy D.C. Protesters Clash With Police As They Clear Tents; 6 Arrested

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WASHINGTON D.C. (WJZ)– Occupy chaos. Mounted officers confront protesters in D.C., leading to a violent showdown.

Weijia Jiang has more on the growing camp site controversy.

Hazmat crews spent most of Saturday sifting through tents at the Occupy site in the nation’s capital. Just hours before at McPherson Square, protesters went head to head with police dressed in riot gear as they moved in to enforce rules against camping.

Federal guidelines allow tents to be set up in the park, as long as no one sleeps inside.

“These regulations are being enforced as a nuisance abatement,” a police officer explained. “This is not an eviction. This has gone very successfully.”

But six people were arrested, including one man who police say threw a brick at an officer’s face. He’s been charged with felony assault on a police officer and assault with a deadly weapon. The victim was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Some demonstrators say the violence erupted when police seized and destroyed tents indiscriminately and without explanation.

“Destroying property, confiscating property, that not only did he say when he would not confiscate when he was negotiating in good faith, but that his lawyer clearly said he would not do,” an Occupy D.C. protester said.

“There is approximately a five foot vertical gash cut into it [the tent],” another demonstrator explained.

The clear-out comes just two weeks after state troopers arrested six Occupiers in Baltimore and tore down a makeshift school house on state owned land-meant to rally against a youth jail.

Protesters at both camps vow to push on.

“The occupation is an idea, not a place. The occupation will continue,” an Occupy D.C. protester said.

The park at McPherson Square is open to the public 24 hours so the protesters are allowed to stay there as long as they are not camping. That means, if they sleep there, it has to be right on the ground.

D.C. Occupiers have been camped out at McPherson Square since October.

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