They lined up about 1:20 am on Monday night. Cover of darkness, and such.
More than 200 Boston Police Department officers in full riot gear showed up and surrounded the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, where about 1,000 Occupy Boston protesters had set up camp.
Do the protesters have the Constitutional right to be there? The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy sent out a memo (.pdf) last week saying the Greenway “is a public park and is available by law for the expression of free speech,” but that “if a protest or other expression of free speech requires any set up including but not limited to tables and chairs, tents, podiums, or amplified sound, a City permit is required.” Therefore, Executive Director Nancy Brennan reasoned, “Occupy Boston is a spontaneous event and an expression of free speech that did not go through the permitting process with the Conservancy or the City. No one asked for permission. No one gave permission.”
The police, a little after 1 am, gave protesters two minutes to leave the Greenway and relocate to Dewey Square. When that two-minute warning expired, police began to move in.
Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said about 100 protesters were arrested, according to the Boston Globe. Police spokesman Jamie Kenneally said “more than 50” were arrested. “[E]ach protester was individually put on his or her stomach, cable-tied, and dragged off as others tore down tents and arrested and detained people on the fringe of the park,” the Globe reported.
The official Occupy Boston website says that’s when the scuffle between veterans and police began: “Eye witness reports and video have come in showing that police dealt violently with members of Veterans for Peace who had come to support Occupy Boston. Other reports are still coming in regarding other instances of police brutality, but remain unconfirmed.”
Boston officials may have tried to move the protesters because of some fresh planting in the area: “A local conservancy group recently planted $150,000 worth of shrubs along the Greenway and officials said they were concerned about damage,” the AP reported.
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