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Occupy D.C. plans challenge to police action

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An attorney representing a member of Occupy D.C. had until midnight Tuesday to file papers in U.S. District Court challenging the procedures by which police can seize property in an attempt to dislodge his clients and other protesters living in McPherson Square.

D.C. attorney Jeffrey Light said the challenge stems from a concern with "what's been happening at other Occupy camps."

"They have been evicted sometimes without much notice," said Mr. Light, an adviser for the local movement. "This is better than waiting until they have the police lined up in the park, then going to court and having a rushed hearing."

Mr. Light said the planned to file the preliminary injunction late Tuesday, the deadline given by Judge James E. Boasberg in early December when he ordered that U.S. Park Police to give a 24-hour notice before an eviction from the downtown park.

Mr. Light first filed a motion in federal court Dec. 5 for his client, Brett Henke. A hearing is set for Jan. 31.

"I'm asking that folks not be evicted at all," Mr. Light said. "And not just a notice, but police can't remove tents without an emergency."

The Occupy D.C. movement has been camped in the park a block from the White House since early October. Though the numbers have dwindled, the park grounds are nearly full with tents and other temporary shelters that house roughly 100 people every night.

The camp is one of the last of its kind in the country, as local governments elsewhere have ousted protesters for health and safety reasons.

Occupy D.C. protesters enjoyed a relatively peaceful relationship with police until last month, when nearly 100 of them were arrested on charges of blocking traffic along a busy street and refusing to follow police orders to take down a large wooden structure.

Tuesday was also the deadline for the Interior Department — which oversees the Park Police — to submit information to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform concerning decisions to allow the Occupy camp to remain in the park.

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