AUGUSTA — Occupy Augusta has been operating in violation of the Capitol Area Security Rules, which require obtaining a permit from the Department of Public Safety before conducting any sort of demonstration in Capitol Park.

Since the encampment began Oct. 15, Capitol Police have refrained from enforcing the rules out of respect for the protesters’ rights.

On Friday, however, Capitol Police Chief Russ Gauvin told the protesters to apply for a permit by Monday.

“I told them they need a permit to be there, and if they do not have a permit, then they will have to remove their tents,” he said. “And if they don’t, then we will remove them.”

There has been no criminal activity reported at Occupy Augusta, but Gauvin said the campers are causing damage to the ground and that other people have complained that they can’t use the park.

“It’s finally at the point where we thought this has gone on long enough in the status quo,” he said. “There’s been very little protest activity going on — it’s really been just an encampment, basically.”

Gauvin said he would grant a permit to leave one structure standing in Capitol Park and to gather there during the day, but not for overnight camping.

Jim Freeman, a Verona Island resident who camps in the park a couple of nights a week, said he and the other protesters do not intend to apply for a permit or end the round-the-clock occupation.

“It’s based on our right to free speech,” Freeman said. “We’re not really hurting anyone, being in the park.”

Occupiers are asking sympathizers to attend a rally in the park at noon Sunday to support a continued encampment.