While the Occupy Wall Street crowd is being pushed out of their makeshift campsite at Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, the protesters at the Occupy D.C. encampments in Washington, D.C., are not quaking in their Birkenstocks out of fear of similar retribution.
McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza, the two parks currently inhabited by members of the Occupy movement protesting corporate greed and influence, are under the purview of the National Park Service, which has no plans to evict the protesters anytime soon.
According to Park Service spokesman Bill Line, the protesters at Freedom Plaza have obtained a permit that allows them to continue to camp out at the park until 10 p.m. on December 30. The occupiers in McPherson Square, however, can remain as long as they wish without a permit so long as their population stays below 500.
“The organization — organizations that are in Freedom Plaza have a permit, a legal document, that allows them and permits them to be there,” Line told The Daily Caller, explaining that the permit does have conditions, such as requiring the demonstrators share the space with others. Line noted that in this respect the protesters are living up to their permit requirements, sharing the park recently with the AIDS Walk, which ended in the plaza.
Line explained that McPherson Square has different permitting rules, but that the Park Service currently has no plans to evict the protesters there either. (SEE ALSO: Judge rules against Occupy Wall Street encampment)
“McPherson Square, according to the regulations that we operate under, if the number is smaller, or fewer, or less than 500 people, a permit is not required for McPherson Square,” said Line. “That is, the United States Park Police do check daily, do make a count daily and the number of people that are demonstrators, that are in McPherson Square, has not totaled 500, therefore the need for a permit has not been triggered.”
Line noted that Park Police have told the protesters at McPherson that they may not obstruct the sidewalks in McPherson Square — according to Line, they have adhered to this rule as well.
Unlike Occupy Wall Street’s place of encampment, Zuccotti Park — where the park proprietor’s attempts to clean the park resulted in a backlash — the Park Service continues to maintain the occupied parks, going so far as to increase their clean up rounds from twice a day to three times a day, according to Line.
Adding to the assurance that the protesters will be allowed to remain is the fact that they enjoy the support of a number of D.C. Council members. The Washington Post reported Tuesday that at least six Council members believe that the protesters should be allowed to stay, with the National Park Service’s oversight.