Last night, Occupy K Street-DC erected a new structure, “a people’s pavillion,” at their main encampment in McPherson Square. According to Occupiers, the structure will be used for General Assemblies, teach-ins, and other community building purposes. They have also said that the structure represents the needs of the 99% who are being left houseless by economic inequality. They are claiming it does not violate city ordinances because it is not permanent and it is not exclusive. According to @OccupyKSt,
This structure is our way of escalating without being destructive; you can “smash” the status quo without smashing anything. #occupydc
This morning, police arrived and ordered the structure to be removed. They gave OccupyDC one hour to disassemble it. Occupiers are currently nonviolently defending the structure under threat of arrest.
- 12:03pm: Occupy DC mic-checking their reasons for staying: We are challenging systems of oppression in solidarity with people who are most marginalized by inequality, uniting to recognize that economic exploitation impacts all of us, reclaiming public space, practicing direct democracy. The system is broken; we’re building a new one.
- 12:01pm: While helmeted riot police on horses look on, police have attacked the nonviolent protesters who are continuing to occupy the People’s Pavilion. Protesters are chanting “shame” and “the whole world is watching.”
- 11:59am: “Whose barn? Our barn!” “This is a nonviolent protest!”
- 11:55am: “Show me what a police state looks like! This is what a police state looks like! Solidarity forever!”
- 11:52am: At least one arrest reported for “crossing an invisible police line.”
- 11:49am: Police (some on horses) are setting up a line around the structure and moving in, threatening all (including media) with arrest. Protesters are chanting, “we are nonviolent” and giving out legal advice and numbers for those who may be arrested.
- 11:46am: Now at least five people on top of roof.
- 11:44am: Media on-hand. Police continue to be aggressive. GA now mic-checking the significance and reasons the structure was created: “We built this to represent broader problems in society. Millions cannot afford housing and are literally dying. The government is not providing social services. It’s time for the people to do it.”
- 11:42am: Police have no informed them they will be arrested if they remain. One Occupier says, “I’m okay with that!” Another adds, “this structure represents civil disobedience. We are evoking our 1st amendment rights.”
- 11:31am: The majority of the emergency GA seems to be in favor of keeping the People’s Pavilion. Police have given a deadline of 12:00pm and formed two lines around them.
- 11:27am: One Occupier has climbed to the top of the structure and began leading the crowd in chants of “Whose park? Our park!” and “We are unstoppable, another world is possible”