12/10/2011 6:57 AM
Hundreds of Boston police officers swooped down on the Occupy Boston encampment early this morning, arresting protesters and tearing down tents, bringing an end to the 10-week protest against economic inequality, the longest continual Occupy demonstration in the country.
At least 40 protesters were arrested in the lightning-swift operation, which was over in less than an hour. The vast majority are facing trespassing charges, Boston police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said.
“They wanted to get arrested. It went very well, and we’re very happy with this operation,” said Superintendent William Evans.
An armada of police vans and prisoner transport vehicles appeared on Atlantic Avenue, along the edge of the Dewey Square encampment, just before 5 a.m.. Police quickly swarmed the area, many equipped with plastic handcuffs.
Demonstrators ran for the camp, yelling, “Wake up! Wake up!”
“If you don’t leave the park, you will be subject to arrest. You are trespassing on Greenway property,” a police officer said through a megaphone.
“Tell me what democracy looks like. This is what democracy looks like,” demonstrators chanted back. About two dozen linked arms and sat down in nonviolent protest and police soon began arresting them. In addition to arrests at the encampment, police made another four arrests later at South Station.
Within about 20 minutes, police had torn down the approximately 50 tents that remained on the square. A front-end loader scooped up debris and junk from the camp was loaded into a garbage truck.
Some protesters left willingly.
“Dude, I’m out of here,” said one, leaving as the police arrived.
A demonstrator carrying a large American flag who was watching the arrests said he was saddened.
“Yeah man, I’m ready to cry,” said the man who would only identify himself as “Wildebeest.” “If you came through here, you probably experienced something great.”
John Ford, a protester leader who had argued Thursday night that the demonstration should end voluntarily with a cleanup and massive dance party, watched in a somber mood.
“I would have like to have seen us do it ourselves,” Ford said. “Because there is a certain amount of respect and dignity that comes with intentionality.”
Police appeared very calm throughout the operation. They wore their normal uniforms, not riot gear. Protesters chanted but offered no resistance. In less than an hour, the square was cleared, the area blocked off by steel barricades and patrolled. Police said they wouldn’t let anyone return for the next 24 hours.
Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said, “We are trying to do this as painlessly as possible.”
Robin Jacks, 31, who had been in the encampment since its earliest days, wanted to be arrested even as she tweeted about the unfolding raid. Officers declined.
“They made me leave,” said Jacks, disappointed. “I don’t want to leave. They said just Tweet it.” A moment of solidarity had passed, and Jacks felt dejected as her friends were led away. “I feel kind of guilty not being arrested with them.”
Superintendent Evans said he wasn’t surprised by how smoothly the operation had gone, saying police had had a “great dialogue” with protesters in the past weeks. “It didn’t surprise me that it went very peaceful,” he said.
There was an element of the encampment that could have caused trouble, he said, but “that element didn’t show up.”
Protester Seth Mantie took a darker view of the operation, describing police as “sort of like storm troopers in the robotic-like efficiency.”
The small group of protesters, which appeared to have dwindled to less than 100 by early today, had been on edge, texting each other that a raid was imminent. The demonstrators agreed that some would be arrested, while others would go across the street and watch in solidarity.
The protesters, part of a worldwide movement that drew attention to economic inequality but has been evicted from parks in other major cities, had moved into the square, across from the Boston branch of the Federal Reserve Bank, at the end of September.
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said early in the protest that he sympathized with protesters on the issues. But police made 141 arrests on Oct. 11 when protesters attempted to expand from Dewey Square to an adjacent park area.
Protesters won a temporary restraining order from a Suffolk Superior Court judge on Nov. 16 barring their eviction, while the judge considered their claims that their free speech rights protected them from eviction.
But the judge on Wednesday denied protesters’ request for a court order permanently protecting them, ruling that they had no right to “seize and hold” the park. They could protest, the judge said, but they would have to abide by the regulations of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, which leases the Dewey Square property from the state and, in this situation, was acting as a government agency.
The conservancy, which oversees the Greenway, a chain of parks winding through downtown Boston, bans people from the park after 11 p.m. and bans the erection of structure such as tents.
On Thursday, Menino urged protesters to leave the encampment, saying conditions had deteriorated and posed “very real health and safety risks.” Many protesters left saying they had made their point and drawn attention to the problems faced by the “99 percent” on the lower rungs of the economic ladder.
Protesters hunkered down Thursday night for a raid after Menino set a midnight deadline and as many as 1,000 people gathered on the square. But by Friday morning only two people had been arrested after they had blocked Atlantic Avenue, a street that runs along the edge of the square.
By Friday night, the group of protesters waiting anxiously for the police raid had dwindled.
Occupy Boston started on September 30th, 2011 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupy_Boston
September 30th, 2011
9 + 30 +2+0+1+1 = 43 = Occupy Boston’s life lesson and personal year = Fun times. The party’s over.
43 year + 11 (November) = 54 = Occupy Boston’s personal month (from November 30th, 2011 to December 29th, 2011) = Spontaneous.
54 month + 10 (10th of the month on Saturday December 10th, 2011) = 64 = This sucks. It’s all over.
find out your own numerology at: