Police order structure taken down at Occupy DC

December 5, 2011

Athena Jones, CNN

Washington (CNN) — U.S. Park Police surrounded a wood structure erected Sunday by Occupy DC protesters, with a standoff ensuing and several arrests being made, according to witnesses.

The structure was built overnight in McPherson Square as a place where protesters could stay warm in the winter and hold their daily general assembly meetings, according to Wade Simmons, one of the Occupy demonstrators.

Police ordered the structure taken down around noon Sunday, a post on the Occupy DC website reported, but some people remained perched on top of or inside the building, which was donated by a father-son architect team. As many as 200 people gathered at the park to watch the standoff.

Police pulled an armored truck alongside the structure and two officers standing on the vehicle’s roof could be seen negotiating with six remaining protesters. After several minutes of discussions, two of the protesters voluntarily jumped from the structure onto an inflatable pad brought in by authorities.

Earlier, police put up barriers around the structure and cordoned off nearby streets with yellow tape as protesters chanted, “This is a nonviolent movement,” and, “Put the pepper spray away.”

A city safety inspector posted several bright orange signs on the structure reading “Danger.”

Police at the scene declined to comment on the situation and CNN could not immediately reach the spokesman for the park police.

“This is the first major problem we’ve had with park police,” said Simmons, who has been participating in the protest at McPherson Square since November 1.

Ann Wilcox, a legal observer for the group, said police told her they would give the protesters three formal warnings to vacate the structure or be arrested.

Shortly after 6 p.m., protesters atop the structure announced that four people had been arrested.

A total of 26 people were arrested throughout the day, according to Kathryn Seidewitz of the Occupy DC media team. That number could not be confirmed with police.

To read more, visit: http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/04/us/occupy-dc/

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