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The Occupy DC movement, which had been mostly peaceful thus far, turned ugly yesterday as police arrested 31 protesters during an all-day standoff in McPherson Square. It was the first instance of mass arrests at the group’s base camp in Washington D.C.
It all started with a seemingly innocuous disagreement over a 15-foot-tall wooden shelter that demonstrators erected on Saturday night in the park’s southwest corner. Soon, though, it escalated into a noisy downtown fracas after a group of protesters failed to heed orders from the U.S. Park Police to take down the half-built structure.
During the daylight hours, police arrested 15 demonstrators and charged them with crossing a police line. After the sun had set, officers detained the protesters who had stayed inside the open shed all day, and 16 people were charged with disobeying a lawful police order. One of them also was charged with resisting arrest, indecent exposure, and urinating in public.
Six people tried to hang onto the roof of the shed, but police were able to remove all of them by 8:35 p.m. EST and later took down shelter.
There were no reports of injuries.
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