Tuesday, February 7, 2012

.The battle for McPherson Square Rough police tactics rout 300 protesters from their tent city in the heart of Washington By Jefferson Morley / Salon

“Move back!” shouted the cop wielding a clear Plexiglas shield emblazoned with the words “U.S. Park Police” as he moved into the crowd of demonstrators thronging McPherson Square on Saturday afternoon. The photographer next to me was shouting, “I’m press!” but that didn’t seem to impress the phalanx of officers advancing on us, applying their shields to our shoulders.
“Move back!” the cop explained, and I went sprawling into what used to be the main information tent of OccupyDC. It was the place where you could always find someone who could tell you about the camp’s activities. It was a place where I had debated fiat money with a Ron Paul supporter, chatted with a delusional homeless man, and talked union politics with a woman from National Nurses United. Now the tent was a flat lumpy mess, and people were scrambling over it to get away from the suddenly aggressive cops. Nearby, mounted officers on horses were slowly wading their steeds into a river of people, and some screamed in panic at the approach of the massive animals.

Jefferson Morley is the Washington editor of Salon and author of the forthcoming book, Snow-Storm in August: Washington City, Francis Scott Key, and the Forgotten Race Riot of 1835 (Nan Talese/Doubleday). More Jefferson Morley

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