US District Judge James Boasberg said on Tuesday that the US government is not allowed to evict the protestors from one of the last major Occupy Wall Street encampments without first notifying the people there that it is evicting them. The government wants to clear one of Washington’s downtown parks of the protestors, and would prefer to do it without an eviction notice. An eviction notice gives the protestors a chance to appeal the eviction ahead of time.
The protestors defied the efforts of the National Park Service to enforce an already existing law which forbids camping on federal park grounds at McPherson Square, Washington, DC’s main Occupy site.
Government officials have not yet announced when or even if they will force the protestors to leave. A lawyer for the government stated in court on Tuesday that she had no knowledge of any forthcoming plans to evict them.
The US Park Police maintain that they do have the right to move the protestors out if they believed there was an urgent health concern or other emergency requiring the evacuation of the park immediately for safety reasons.
Mayor Vincent Gray and DC health agents have said there is a worry about an infestation of rats in McPherson Square as a result of the encampment.
The protestors are camping on high alert, expecting an imminent forcible removal ever since the park service announced last Friday that they would begin enforcing the ban on camping on federal park land, which would come into effect as of Monday. Despite the fact that a sign announced the coming “High Noon” confrontation, nothing happened.