Dec. 9, 2011
BOSTON — On Thursday, everyone thought it would happen: The Boston police would evict the Occupy camp at Dewey Square. And hundreds of demonstrators gathered at the square at mayor Thomas Menino’s midnight deadline to evacuate the site — some dancing and singing under the full moon, others reviewing their rights if they got arrested. Police gathered on the scene as well.
Ethan Harrison, who has emerged as a spokesperson for Occupy Boston, was resigned to what he believed was the likelihood of the camp being shut down at midnight. He pointed to two garbage trucks idling nearby as a sign of things to come. In October, he said, when the police forced the Occupiers to tear down an expansion encampment site, the City of Boston brought garbage trucks to clear out everything left behind.
“When I see this… it’s something we’ve been expecting, like when one sees rain clouds they know that rain is coming,” Harrison said.
But the deadline came and went, and the police didn’t raid. A night that began with tension turned into celebration.
“Glorious. A small battle won,” a protester said, as a few people chanted, “We are the 99 percent.”
“No one ever said the police were coming in… there’s a big crowd expected but that wasn’t our intention,” Boston police superintendent Bill Evans said. “We’re just working to keep the street open here.”
But Evans said his force was still prepared to oust residents from their tent city “when the time comes,” if given the go-ahead from Menino. Two people were arrested when they refused to get out of a tent they'd moved to Atlantic Avenue.
The city did accomplish part of its purpose: Occupiers took down about half the tents voluntarily, including tents that fed homeless people and provided medical services.
In an online “report card” poll posted by WGBH News, support for the Occupiers grew overnight. About 40 percent of people responding said they would give the movement an “A” for its strategies and effectiveness. However, the question is divisive. 32 percent gave the movement a “D” or “F.” Take the poll yourself to grade Occupy Boston.
WGBH COMPLETE OCCUPY BOSTON COVERAGE
Chris commented on 12.09.11
Thanks to the BPD and the Mayor's office and staff for (in my opinion) being more professional, proportional and thoughtful this time around. Whether (or not) folks agree with Occupy Boston continuing to maintain the encampment at Dewey Square, I think that most of us would agree that the "occupiers" should be treated with respect for exercising their rights to engage in free political speech. If the BPD/City of Boston chooses to enforce against the occupiers' decisions to engage in civil disobedience, (I believe) the occupiers should be treated no (better or) worse than any other political protestors who choose to violate a law/regulation in order to bring attention to what is in their opinion(s) critical political issues. Actions taken by law enforcement authorities should be appropriate and proportional to the amount and nature of cost/damage/risk that the civil disobedience poses to others in our community(ies).