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Attempting To Avoid Eviction, Occupy Boston Heads To Court

Occupy Boston's encampment in Dewey Square, Wednesday (Luke Boelitz for WBUR)

BOSTON — Attorneys working on behalf of Occupy Boston are going to court Wednesday morning to seek a restraining order to stop police from removing the protesters’ encampment in Dewey Square.

Occupy Boston protesters were worried about the future of their movement Tuesday after numerous cities forced protesters off their respective sites.

“That is part of why keeping this spot is so important to me, because they can’t ignore us,” said Alex Ingram, a spokesman for Occupy Boston who has been camping in Dewey Square for weeks. “The second we leave this spot, the second we let issues like this skirt by, is the second we give them permission to pretend that we don’t exist, to ignore the problems.”

City leaders are offering no guarantees.

“We’re evaluating the situation on a daily basis,” said Mayor Thomas Menino.

So attorneys working on behalf of Occupy Boston — the ACLU of Massachusetts and the National Lawyers Guild — are seeking a restraining order against Boston Police.

Occupy Boston protester Dave and his dog pose on one of the 'streets' of the Occupy Boston campsite. (Luke Boelitz for WBUR)

“Well, frankly the goal is to avoid here in Boston what’s going on elsewhere in the country, including in New York City,” said attorney Howard Cooper of the law firm Todd & Weld.

“The courts aren’t open at 1 o’clock in the morning, and to the extent that there is now an apparent movement nationally for municipalities to seek to remove the protesters, no one thought it would be a good idea to wait until there’s some confrontation in the middle of the night.”

The Boston Police Department and the City of Boston wouldn’t comment on the lawsuit. They say they are not New York and will monitor the situation daily.

In the past, the city has argued that it is illegal to camp in Dewey Square, and occupiers have been given special permission to be there overnight. But that permission can be withdrawn any time.

“Well, there we have a difference of perspective on what is required by the law,” Cooper said.

“Public parks belong to all of us,” Cooper said, and the Greenway is protected as a place for free speech.

“This is a specific area of the city that has actually been designed intentionally to promote free speech rights. That’s what this case is about,” he said.

Cooper and the city will appear before a Suffolk Superior Court judge Wednesday.

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