WASHINGTON -- According to the District of Columbia's health inspector, the Occupy DC encampment in McPherson Square is experiencing worsening rodent infestations and deteriorating public health conditions.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Department of Health director Mohammad Akhter compared the situation to refugee camps he's toured in the Middle East and Africa.
Last week, Occupy DC voluntarily shut down its kitchen as D.C. health inspectors assessed the sanitary conditions of the camp, which first gathered in the downtown park near the White House on Oct. 1.
While downtown D.C. is no stranger to rodents, the presence of food in McPherson Square has made the park a draw for rats. And worsening winter weather conditions has raised the risk of illness in the camp, which is an expressed concern for public health officials.
While protest activity in the nation's capital has decreased since the fall, Occupy Wall Street-inspired activists from around the country are planning on converging on D.C. for "Occupy Congress" on Jan. 17, where protesters will take their message to Capitol Hill.
Photo by Flickr user Frank Pell