Last night, Occupy DC put up a new non-permanent structure for occupiers and Washington, DC, community. [Here's video of the structure going up.]
Park police did not approve and asked Occupy DC to take it down. The occupation said they would not take it down. On Twitter, @OccupyKSt tweeted, “This structure is our way of escalating without being destructive; you can “smash” the status quo without smashing anything.” It was being put up for General Assembly meetings, teach-ins and other community building activities/events.
Furthermore, Occupy DC put out a statement on “The Wooden Structure.” An excerpt reads:
The modular structure was designed by professionals ‘to code’. It meets all health and safety requirements and is fully accessible. It is non-permanent, has no foundations and is not tethered to the ground. It’s designed to be movable every four days to protect the grass beneath the structure. The structure is fully sustainable–it is built to be entirely passively solar-heated and will feature a hydroponic irrigation system on the roof.
Two hours ago they began trying to take down the structure themselves.
Photos have been coming in of police action. More and more DC police are coming to the park. A SWAT team is about to move in. They have been tearing down parts of the non-permanent structure.
Occupiers have climbed on top of the structure. That may be part of why a SWAT team is being moved in to the area. [UPDATE – 6:28 PM: As far as I can tell, there was no SWAT team action (photo via @michaelbolden)
Michael Bolden also reports that the police action is in just one quadrant of the park around the structure making what is transpiring a bit surreal. For example (also via Bolden):
Police tape is going up (12:44 PM EST) (via Bolden)
9:56 PM Here is a link to audio of my interview on 6PR 882 News Talk radio in Perth, Australia. Host Tony Swerve (@perthtones) had me on the show on Friday. I talked about WikiLeaks & the Occupy movement.
9:40 PM Occupy Baltimore faces prospect of eviction after permit renewal is denied
9:32 PM Removed livestream as action has mostly concluded.
9:31 PM This is a nice report on Occupy K St action today that transpired because of a structure moved into the park.
9:30 PM Occupy Albany (which I visited on my Northeast tour) now being required to limit the number of tents in the park:
9:29 PM Pieces of the structure being taken away by a truck.
9:20 PM And the structure is collapsed by a forklift and police (via Michael Bolden) —
9:09 PM Now here’s another picture from Michael Bolden — of a forklift being used to remove structure:
The structure is being disassembled. Also, those arrested earlier today already released. One of them just appeared on livestream.
9:00 PM Scene has calmed. Nobody facing arrest right now. 31 have been arrested at Occupy DC thus far. This live blog today is not supposed to be an Occupy DC live blog so since action has died down I will begin to add some items on other occupations.
8:28 PM Well, what a relief. Police throw down American flag. I’ll hope that gets more attention than David the Occupier taking a piss.
8:15 PM Last remaining occupier on the roof, David, did piss off the roof. He had been up on the roof 9 hours. I don’t want to say I would not have done what David did because I would not have had the guts to climb up on top of the roof in the first place, but I do think it should be noted this will be a major part of corporate media’s story now. Right wing media will especially fixate on the occupier leaking.
7:30 PM Three people remain on the roof. “Paintball gun” has come out to coerce occupiers into getting down.
7:17 PM We interrupt this farce that is finishing up for a reminder of how police brutality against the Occupy movement has seeped into American culture:
7:05 PM Being called the “moon bounce” (photo via @lindseymastis)—
Cops on scene are heavily armed, according to livestream guy narrating.
7:01 PM Two occupiers on roof of structure are jump on to “suicide cushion.” Both arrested. Four remain atop structure. Being taken down now. (photo via Lacy Macauley
Declaration of Occupy DC being human mic’d.
6:49 PM You can see the “suicide cushion” deployed for occupiers on the roof (via Michael Bolden):
6:47 PM From Michael Bolden:
This brought in to get people down from the rooftop.
This has been going on since 10:30 am by the way. For eight hours, police have been slowly moving in to destroy structure and get occupiers off the roof.
CNN is there live from the scene.
6:36 PM I adjust the blog intro to be factually accurate because there has been no SWAT action yet. And then SWAT moves in to remove occupiers on top of the structure. They have moved the “suicide cushion” into the structure.
6:33 PM This a photo of the scene at Occupy DC from @daveweigel:
6:28 PM Much thanks to FDL member TarheelDem for this summary of the last hour:
Four people on the roof. They chant “Don’t hurt Georgia.” The General Assembly is postponed. More Park police coming in now. @unknown_vector and @babee_einstein are arrested (for those who have been following their Twitter streams).
Two are left on the ground and five on the roof. Those two are then arrested. Supporters are thanked. One of the protesters on the roof says “They don’t know what to do with us.” GA meeting that had been postponed is now going to happen at the jailhouse. Five still on the roof of the structure. More park police arrive.
Paddy wagons with twenty-some-odd protesters leave. There are still five on the roof.
Maybe shift change instead of OT. Police bring in a “suicide cushion”, a huge air mattress (to help get down five occupiers on rooftop of the non-permanent structure?).
5:08 PM Tarp and wood from the structure being loaded into a truck now.
5:10 PM Six occupiers on the roof of the structure, 14 are inside (via @OccupyWashDC)
5:05 PM Another livestream you can watch. There are orange stickers on the structure now that are to signify the structure is dangerous.
4:51 PM Earlier on livestream was confirmed DC Metro police were there for “crowd control” purposes only. The police in the park are now apparently park police. From the messages I have been reading from people there at the site, it doesn’t look like Occupy DC is being evicted. What is happening is people in and around a structure are in an area that has been cordoned off. They are risking arrest. There may be a time when they have to move so police can confiscate structure. Not moving will mean they are arrested.
This action has all been in one area of the park. Rest of the park may be caution taped but as far as I can tell others in the park are still there peacefully occupying and watching this slow action unfold.
4:49 PM This is the scene one hour ago at Occupy DC. Barricades have been brought in and media has been pushed out so they can barely view what is happening in the area around the structure where occupiers are risking arrest. (photo via @lacymacauley)
4:47 PM Just now a safety inspector was sent in to look at the new non-permanent structure occupiers put up.
4:39 PM Had to step away just as action was escalating. Bringing the blog up-to-date now.
12:55 PM The arrest area is being expanded by police.
12:53 PM Washington Post has a post on the developing story, as they have reporters at the scene. This covers the arrests that have already been made.
12:51 PM Explainer on the shelter that was put up by Occupy DC, which police do not like.
12:48 PM I Street is now blocked off at 14th (Michael Bolden reports)
12:46 PM Flag planted on non-permanent structure (via @timcraigpost):
12:45 PMReport from Matt Ackland: “I heard officer tell guy with American flag not to take it over the police line. Guy did it anyway, and cop chased him down.”
12:30 PM Livestream will be back up. The iPhone being used ran out of battery.