In contrast to Saturday’s aggressive police sweep of the Occupy DC encampment at McPherson Square, during which officers in riot gear removed most of the tents and made eight arrests, the health and safety check carried out by U.S. Park Police at a second Occupy encampment on Sunday was a relatively calm and restrained affair.
Occupy members had urged the protesters at Freedom Plaza to comply with regulations that allow them to remain on-site around the clock but not to camp out or sleep. The police themselves seemed intent on keeping the inspection peaceful and appeared to be sticking to their intention of only looking for bedding, clothing, cooking items, and signs of human waste or rat infestation.
According to the Washington Post, “Police say they are expecting fewer arrests at Freedom Plaza and expected to find better compliance with rules for the ongoing protest. An initial sweep just before noon yielded fewer than 10 tents that had potential violations. One man was arrested Sunday afternoon for allegedly threatening an officer.”
“This is not an eviction,” Sgt. David Schlosser of the U.S. Park Police told the Post. “We want to respect their first amendment rights.”
This video is from Reuters, February 5, 2012.