DC Cops Bust 31 Occupiers in Spat Over Shack

Police dismantle structure after 31 arrests
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2011 11:12 AM CST
US Park Police guard a structure erected by protesters overnight in McPherson Square, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011 in Washington.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(Newser) – The final arrest tally from yesterday's Occupy DC standoff: 31. The first instance of mass arrests in that location, the clash erupted over a 15-foot-tall wood building constructed by protesters. The Washington Post reports that 15 demonstrators were arrested during the day, charged with crossing a police line, and an additional 16 people who remained inside the structure were arrested after nightfall and charged with disobeying a lawful police order. Six people were removed from the roof of the shelter, which was later dismantled.

There were no injuries reported, but the Post notes that the dispute escalated into a noisy, disruptive event, and could mark "a psychological turning point" for the up-til-now peaceful protest. DCist concurs, noting that the nine-hour standoff could significantly change the protester-police relationship. Protesters insisted the structure complied with federal park regulations and was temporary, but police officials said it was illegal because it appeared permanent and had been built without a permit.

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