WASHINGTON — Police ordered the Washington offshoot of Occupy Wall Street on Tuesday to pull down a "tent of dreams" it erected the day before in an escalation of its protest against corporate power and greed.

Members of Occupy DC in McPherson Square, a stone's throw from the White House, said a National Park Service sergeant asked for the big blue tarpaulin draped over an equestrian statue of a Civil War general to be removed.

No firm deadline was given, as police allowed the protesters -- who have positioned about 18 smaller tents under the tarp -- to hold a noon-hour meeting to decide how to respond.

Last week, the park service -- under pressure from Republican congressmen and local businesses -- said it would start enforcing a ban on camping in the park, after tolerating the open-ended encampment from the outset.

Occupy DC is the most visible of the few remaining protest camps that sprouted in US cities in September and October to protest economic inequality and big-business influence on politics.