WASHINGTON — Occupy DC applied for a court order Wednesday to head off any attempt by police in the US capital to sweep away its encampment in McPherson Square, a small park near the White House.

In a request for a US District Court injunction, the protesters said it would be unlawful to pull down their tent city because the National Park Service police lack procedures to seize, store and return property.

They also assert that if such procedures are put in place, they could be applied against specifically targeted property, and not the entire encampment in the K Street lobbying district.

"It's an application for an order to prevent the eviction of Occupy DC on McPherson Square," lawyer Jeffrey Light told AFP after the full text of the application was posted on the document-sharing website www.scribd.com.

Occupy DC, which marks its 100th day on Sunday, is one of two Occupy Wall Street offshoots in the US capital on property that belongs to the Department of the Interior through the National Park Service.

It lacks a permit, unlike its counterpart on nearby Freedom Plaza, Occupy Washington DC, which last week got its permit extended to February 28 so long as it shares space with a conservative group planning lunchtime rallies.

A third group, Occupy Congress, has applied for a permit to demonstrate in conjunction with Occupy DC on the National Mall on January 17, the day Congress returns from its winter break.

Light, who previously won a court order requiring police to give 24 hours' notice before any raid on Occupy DC, said a District Court judge would consider Wednesday's request on January 31.

The flagship Occupy Wall Street -- inspired in part by the Arab Spring uprising -- was shut down by New York police on November 15, as other major cities from Boston to Los Angeles cracked down on their local protests.