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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 But that permission can be withdrawn any time.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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  • Greggdavey

    Hopefully the rain and cold will drive them out.

  • Guest

    I was always taught if you want change, you make change.  If the protestors put the same kind of effort they are putting into not being evited to instead making actual change, I might respect their cause.

  • JP

    The Occupiers claim that it is their right to lodge in these public spaces.  What about Boston’s homeless population?  Do they have the right to pitch a tent and take up lodging?  It makes me wonder about the legal arguments introduced in this report. 

    I can respect and appreciate anyone who stands up for their convictions, but it seems to me that the “occupation” issue is overshadowing Occupy’s objectives.

    Actually, could someone please educate me as to their objectives?  I mean, what do they want?  What are their “demands”?

    Something else to think about – what happens if Boston experiences a winter like last year and someone is injured or, God forbid, perishes due to exposure?  Who will be to blame for that?

    Food for thought.

    • guest

      Asking other people to educate you on what the occupy movement is “demanding” is lazy. You can google this kind of information, or, better, go to Dewey Square and ask somebody.

      • JP

        I have Googled it.  And I have also read a prepared “mission statement” that a friend of mine passed along to me (at my request).

        This is why I am asking.  I am unable to find anything that states their demands, i.e. requests with defined outcomes.

        It occurs to me that you are not able to answer my question either – otherwise you may have provided me with some examples rather than engaging in effortless name calling.

  • Elizabella9

    Hip-Hip-Hooray for the protesters!!!  I hope they stay and that more people join!!!  Although their presence may be “annoying” to some (see comments below), it is important to have visibility. If you want to know more about this movement, why not go to an encampment and talk to some of the people. Also, I highly recommend you watch ‘Democracy Now’ with Amy Goodman which addresses what is truly going on.  Working for democracy is not convieniant and tidy folks (think Sam Adams leading Boston Tea Party, farmers in New England gathering volunteer militias to oppose the British oppression, etc, etc).  The status quo who will ultimately benefit from the protesters work, need to see that  numbers and faces.  How else do you propose the protesters get the message across?  The corporate media sure isn’t helping us understand the issues.  The 11:00 is a joke!  Our congressman are overpaid by lobbyist corporations to protect the interests of the wealthy.  We don’t hear about important measures beings being passed by congress, or the drone attacks killing innocent civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan, or the environmental degradation of fracking, or the dangerous risk of the Tarsand pipeline. Corporations are running the country and this is not an exaggeration.  I urge you to see Democracy Now at http://www.democracynow.org (free broadcasting on line anytime). 

    • JP

      Just to clarify, I did not say that their presence is “annoying” to me.   I merely posed some questions about their methods.

      The Occupiers have not been told that they cannot convene and demonstrate – they have only been told that they cannot lodge in these public spaces.  Are they not visible during the day?

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but the owner of the website on which you are posting has reported on all of the issues you listed above.  That is why I listen to NPR every day.

      No, I have not gone down to the encampment and spoken with anyone there.  I have, however, done some research to learn about this movement, and I have not been able to figure out what their demands are.  Do you know?  Can you tell me?  Drawing attention to critical problems within our nation is indeed important, but as with any problem, acknowledgement is only the first step.  How long do they plan to camp out?  I mean, when and how does it end?

      Thank you – I appreciate this exchange of ideas.

  • Guest

    “We don’t hear about important measures being passed by congress,
    or the drone attacks killing innocent civilians in Pakistan and
    Afghanistan, or the environmental degradation of fracking, or the
    dangerous risk of the Tarsand pipeline.” or the Federal Reserve ( I added this).

    I agree with these issues but I don’t agree with your methods. Occupying Public space and preventing tax payers from using that space is unlawful not to mention DIRTY. Find a better way AND get rid of any drug users.

  • Greggdavey

    Isn’t their message that they would like a free ride?

  • Guest

    Once the first big snow storm hits and bitter cold temperatures arrive these hippies will be gone!

  • Hoodsiecat

    To be honest I agree with the statement that  “they are looking for a free ride” I mean it sounds to me that these protestors want to take out these loans and be able to not have to pay them back.  What about people who work hard, 2 jobs to make ends meet, that pay back their loans, mortages, etc. Sometimes you have to work hard and get your hands dirty, and $60,000 a year jobs don’t just come to you, do the work and PAY YOUR BILLS.

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