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Occupy DC protester tased on eve of eviction

30 january 2012, 16:14
An Occupy DC protester was stunned by police with an electric taser gun and arrested for disorderly conduct on Sunday as he tried to tear down eviction notices, activists told AFP.

The incident was a sign of increased tension on the eve of a deadline for anti-corporate protesters to stop camping out in the two Washington parks they have been occupying for four months, McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza.

Police were not available to comment, but the Washington Post quoted law enforcement as confirming the incident.

The arrested man, who protesters identified as "Lash," will face charges in court on Monday, said protester Kelly Canavan.

Three officers arrested the activist because he was taking down flyers that the officers were posting on the tents, said another protester, Annie Storr.

"He said 'please don't tase me,' and they tased him," said Canavan.

Authorities on Friday began distributing fliers advising protesters that on Monday they would begin enforcing a ban on camping at McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza.

"If camping violations are observed, individual violators may be subject to arrest and their property subject to seizure as evidence," the fliers warned.

The Occupy DC protests are the most prominent of the remaining anti-corporate encampments that proliferated across the nation last fall.

Protests against inequality and corporate influence on US politics began last September in New York and quickly spread around the country. Most of the demonstrations were shut down by the end of the year, but the ones in Washington have continued.

Riot police arrested more than 400 people in Oakland, California, overnight Saturday to Sunday, as a wave of anti-Wall Street protesters tried to take over downtown buildings including City Hall.

The Washington activists vowed late Sunday to "peacefully" resist any move to evict them.

"We have a dream of a better world. Let us sleep so we have the energy to create it," they said in a statement.

"Both sleeping members and non-sleeping" Occupy DC members will "defend the public space we have used as our center for activism," the statement read.

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