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Occupy Boston Protesters In It For The Long Haul

Tracking Occupy Boston
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BOSTON — Nearly two weeks after the first Occupy Boston demonstrations, it’s becoming clear the protesters aren’t just passing through, but are settling down in Dewey Square for the long haul.

On Wednesday, while people hung around and played guitar, there were signs the movement is preparing to take care of its members in the weeks to come. Kris Ditunno, a volunteer in the camp’s medic tent, came by with bags of water, cough drops and packets of vitamin C.

“Do you guys need food or water? It’s going to get cold again tonight, so just be careful,” she said.

“Getting cold” is what many observers have speculated will eventually be the end of the Occupy Boston protests.

That, or the fact that the group still hasn’t come forward with specific demands. Through their nightly general assemblies, where decisions are made through three-fourths vote, the group has agreed that they collectively support two general ideas: the removal of corporate money from politics and ending what they call “corporate personhood,” neither of which seems like a goal that will be met in the short term, say by the time the snow starts falling.

“Well, we’re here for the long run,” said 24-year-old Philip Anderson, who lives in Westwood.

Up until about a month ago, he was working on a Senate campaign — he declined to say which one — but for the past four or five days he’s been serving as a spokesman for Occupy Boston.

“On Monday we had a march with upwards of 10,000 people and that just demonstrates how many people support us. [*News reports put the number much lower.] A lot of them couldn’t get off of work, but when we were walking by we got thumbs up out of windows, we got, you know, waves from construction workers, we’ve even had a few police officers say they support us,” Anderson said.

Standing next to Anderson as he spoke was further evidence of the diversity of support the group has attracted. Four women — Carolyn McCreary, Alice Schafer, Marjory Harvey and Nancy Lenicheck — had carpooled in to the protests together from their hometowns of Acton, Littleton and Ayer, but it wasn’t the distance they’d traveled that set them apart. The women range in age from “undisclosed” to 89 years old. The women explain to WBUR’s Bob Oakes their reason for joining the protesters.

Correction: An earlier version of this story did not refute Anderson’s number of people demonstrating, which may have made it seem like a substantiated tally.

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  • Anonymous

    Charge them rent.  Camping out 24 hours a day isn’t speech.  Protest from 8:00 to 6:00 and go home.   The business people and politicians they are protesting against aren’t there at night.  Police overtime and the destruction to city property waste money that could be better spent on education or social programs. 

    • Alexis

      You’re right, camping out isn’t speech.  It’s expression.  Have you forgotten our first amendment? Expression encompasses more than just speech.  They are protesting peaceably on PUBLIC property, and therefore are not breaking any laws.  You think that money could be better spent on education or social programs? So could a lot of things. For instance, the 1 trillion and counting dollars of taxpayers’ money that is being spent on all of our wars. Call me crazy, but I’d like to see some cut backs on that monster before we cut back on the first real protest in a long time that has awakened the nation from our deep, apathetic slumber.  

      • joanne

        Then go to the White House and tell Obama. He’s the one escalating the wars. He’s taken more campaign  money from wall street then anyone else. He’s the reason for the mess we’re in.

        • Jess

          You’re missing the point.  These protests aren’t about left vs. right.  Obama is just as much a part of our corrupt political system as anyone else.  Pay a visit to Dewey Square and strike up a conversation with anyone you see.  I guarantee you will find that all political points of view are represented, and given an equal voice.

    • Rocky69rhodes

      stfu they have a right to be there

  • Nwoebcke

    The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision brought on this mess.  That and our money-grubbing politicians.  The BEST idea since Nixon was to get big $$$ out of politics.  It won’t happen unless 99% of the population shuts down Wall Street, K Street, and our US Congress. 

    I want to see these greedy 0.1% billionaires taxed 90% and fleeing for their lives to a remote island somewhere.  What are they doing in this country anyway besides ruining our politicians and our government with legalized bribery?

    • Yogasong

      I’m on your side, but even if the billionaires were to flee to some remote island anywhere in the world they could still have undue influence on American business.  Lousy but true

    • Not naive

      Your idea unfortunately forgets that once they leave all of the jobs they create also leave as well as the social programs their corporate and personal tax dollars support. 

  • Miltonwatchdog

    no people of color there

  • Calkol

    Mayor Menino, commenting on the police action against Occupy Boston, said in a televised
    interview, that the occupation had been acceptable until “the anarchists came in.” He
    continued to use the word as a brand for the ones who always stir up trouble.  This was
    the same night he asserted that civil disobedience is not a (constitutional) right.

  • Porkmizaria

    Please balance reporting police overtime pay with the greater mission of American democracy to give its citizens the right to assemble and the freedom of speech.  Our elected officials are so pre-occupied with getting re-elected and sinking Obama that they have lost track of we the people.  The fact that ‘we the people’ are taking a stand for something should be celebrated and encouraged.  The overtime pay issue feels designed to polarize folks against the protesters.  I, for one, am in favor of police officers going home with extra pay. 

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