72
      Wednesday
      90 / 64
      Thursday
      85 / 67
      Friday
      82 / 67

      Concerns raised that 'Occupiers' damaging McPherson Square

      Officials and residents are raising concerns that protesters camping in McPherson Square is not only illegal, but damaging the Square.

      "They spent all summer resodding and making this park beautiful," said Kelly Fiedorek, a D.C. resident. "They spent taxpayer dollars and now its ruined."

      California Congressman Darrell Issa recently wrote Interior Secretary Ken Salazar a letter claiming the Occupiers have destroyed the park, wasting a $400,000 taxpayer funded improvement project.

      Occupy protester Will Martin countered saying, "I really can't believe they are talking about a waste of taxpayer money when they are doing a really good job of that themselves."

      Protesters say they are very aware of Rep. Issa's efforts to "shut them down."

      Issa cited a federal law he claims prohibits camping in the square. But protesters say they have permits and a right to be there.

      "Public assembly is something this country was founded on," said Peetro, an Occupy D.C. protester.

      Michael Wilson, a District resident, works near the square and welcomes the protesters.

      "Darrell Issa, the thing he really doesn't like is the message they have about corporate greed," Wilson said.

      A spokesperson for Interior Secretary Salazar issued the statement: "The National Park Service is committed to upholding America's First Amendment rights while enforcing our nation's laws."

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