Park Police can't evict Occupy protestors without court hearing, judge says
Occupy D.C. protesters appeared inspired by a small court victory Wednesday. A judge ruled that Park Police would not be allowed to evict protestors without a court hearing and even then, protestors must get at least a 24-hour warning.
"I think that was a huge victory for us, the fact that we're not going to be evicted and they don't have any intention of moving things in the first place," said Occupy protester Johnny Mandracchia.
The ruling comes just days after Park Police were expected to begin sweeping hundreds of tents in McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza. The judge ruled Park Police can't remove the tents because they're considered personal property.
"That's really exciting," said Occupy protester Brian Eister. "That means this camp will be here. We'll have all our structures up, our library, our meeting spaces. We'll still be able to hold all of our committee meetings here."
But Park Police are enforcing the rules on a more individual basis. It's illegal to camp out in the park, so during the overnight hours, officers have started conducting routine patrols to try to make sure no one is sleeping inside the tents.
Congressman Darrell Issa, who has been pushing for police to raid the parks, considers the overnight sweeps a victory. He released a statement saying, "The Park Service decision to begin enforcing the law is appropriate and overdue."
Four months into the encampment, most people who work and live near the occupied parks seem to consider the movement a normal part of the D.C. protest mentality.
"I do look like the one percent and they don't harass me for it, so as long as they're not bothering anyone, feel free to hang out there, I guess," said Tim Moraghan of Georgetown.
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