Early Monday morning the remaining Occupy DC tents were demolished, debris scattered throughout the park. First reports blame six intoxicated men with laying waste to the park.
At 8:30am, John Zangas tweeted that several people “became rambunctious” and tore down every structure in the park.
The four remaining tents consisted of the library, the former information tent, a personal tent and a storage tent containing art and supplies. The majority of the books had already been removed from the library. At first glance, the only things missing were the finely lettered signs recently installed by Barry Knight.
At 11am, only one person was trying to clean up. Sweet, originally from Occupy Eugene and lately of Occupy DC, was trying to “consolidate” the mess.
As people mingled after Occupy DC’s People’s Summit on Sunday evening, one person proposed removing the tents and invited someone to block the proposal. The gathering was not a general assembly.
UPDATE: The tornado-like damage inflicted on McPherson last night seems to be only one part of a larger narrative unfolding within Occupy DC. While it is unconfirmed exactly who demolished what remained of the Occupy DC camp at the park, what is clear is that attitudes of Occupiers toward their Occupation site have dramatically changed.
The Sleepful Protest at Bank of America on Vermont and L was reportedly notified of the damage between 4 and 5am, yet only one person (again reportedly) went to check it out.
The news went out on Twitter early in the morning, yet by 11am only one person was in the park cleaning up debris.
Compare this response to late January, when the Tent of Dreams served as a clarion call of defiance directed toward the National Park Service, who seemed poised to evict Occupy DC from the park at any moment. Hundreds flocked to McPherson when summoned.
This is also a dramatic difference from late March, when Park Police tore down the information tent. The anger and defiance was so great, DC Occupiers took to the streets that very evening in protest.
There has been significant debate lately within Occupy DC whether to continue its presence at McPherson. Cleanliness has been a problem, and many people drink alcohol at night, leading to arrests. This appearance and behavior reflect poorly on Occupy DC.
Still, many people strongly support the tactic of Occupation. “Occupying a public space is important no matter what any body says,” Feriha Kaya said, responding to the destruction. “Have you heard of any Occupation that has taken down its own tents?”
[Note: On April 18, Occupy New Haven decided to disassemble tents after a court ruling against them. The decision sparked internal dissent, and twelve New Haven Occupiers were arrested resisting the dismantlement of their camp. (hat tip: @msamricth)]
UPDATE: Livestreamers Carlisle and Austin Dalton erect what they call the “McPherson Fortress.”
“They [the people who wanted the park destroyed] can kiss my ass,” Austin says.
- Occupy DC: Beyond tents (coolrevolution.net)
- Pitching a Tent of Dreams (coolrevolution.net)
- “Give us our rights, and we’ll give you the streets!” (coolrevolution.net)