McPherson Square info tent “demolished,” not to be replaced
|May 7, 2012||Posted by Coulter Loeb under News, Stories, Web Only|
U.S. Park Police confiscated the Occupy DC information tent on the morning of May 7 between the hours of 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. According to occupiers, the tent will not be replaced and the services formerly provided by the tent will be split between two locations.
Park Police, under the leadership of Sgt. Todd Reid, cited violation of the U.S. Park Service’s camping regulations as the reason for removing the tent. The removal took place after an occupier was allegedly found asleep in the tent around 4:30 a.m. Materials confiscated from McPherson Square have been transferred to the U.S. Park Police District 1 headquarters.
Supplies formally housed in the tent are being redistributed to two locations. In the park, the neighboring food tent will be used to house some items, and others will be removed to the new Occupy Resource Center located on the 6th floor of 1112 16th Street NW. According to James Van Orden, who was present when police taped off the area surrounding the information tent before removing it, “It will be easy to make [the old food tent] the main tent here in McPherson Square.”
Despite the removal of the information tent, spirits in the park remain high. “Getting that [tent] cleared out I think is not altogether a bad thing. [The tent’s confiscations] can be used progressively and constructively for growth instead of destruction,” noted Georgia Pearce as she packed up supplies for the Occupy Resource Center. “With the way the dirt has been packed down underneath it, it looks like the tent has been here for five years.”
The move contributes to a larger effort to decide what sort of presence Occupy DC will continue to have in the McPherson Square. According to Pearce, “I think we still need to keep a presence in the park, but I think we need to reevaluate what kind of presence and how that presence is seen by the public.” She cited the fact that people not associated directly with the movement were using the tent as a place for “hanging out.” and that this drove off some people who actually wanted information. “Changing the location of [the Information Tent], having it under the open canopy of the old food tent versus a camping-style tent, will help us with transparency,” said Pearce.