WBUR

City Officials Seek Power To Evict Occupy Boston Protesters

Pedestrians walk along Atlantic Avenue in front of the Occupy Boston encampment Nov. 16. (AP)

Pedestrians walk along Atlantic Avenue in front of the Occupy Boston encampment Nov. 16. (AP)

BOSTON — Boston could be a step closer to evicting the Occupy protesters in Dewey Square.

The city has filed a 200-page court motion arguing that the encampment raises public safety and health concerns, and that the city should be able to evict demonstrators if necessary. The city says the protesters have the right to free speech, but they have no right to live on public property.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino told WBUR he has no immediate plans to evict demonstrators, though.

“We have no plans at this time to remove anybody from Dewey Square,” Menino said. “We just wanted to show the judge the issues that are faced at the Dewey Square location — health issues, public safety issues, other issues that pertain to the area that occupiers have taken over.”

He added, “I don’t think they can stay there forever, but I think it’s not the time to talk about it at all. They have a court order in place and I respect that court order even though I don’t agree with it.”

K. Eric Martin, center, and other demonstrators discuss possible eviction Wednesday. (Bianca Vazquez Toness/WBUR)

K. Eric Martin, center, and other demonstrators discuss possible eviction Wednesday. (Bianca Vazquez Toness/WBUR)

Earlier this month, a Boston judge temporarily blocked the city’s ability to oust Occupy Boston. That order lasts until Thursday, when another court hearing is scheduled.

The head of the Massachusetts ACLU says it will fight any Occupy Boston eviction.

“We’re not trying to tie the hands of the city or of the police department to do what their supposed to do, which is to keep the public safety,” Carole Rose said. “It’s worked so far. We’d really like to keep the status quo in place.

“We’re hoping that whatever the city decides to do, they’re going to do it in the openness of daylight and with advance notice and so the people who don’t want to engage in civil disobedience have the opportunity to leave.”

Occupy Boston leaders on Wednesday urged fellow protesters to make contingency plans in case police remove their encampment, following Thursday’s court hearing.

– Here’s the city’s the 200-page court filing (on Scribd):

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  • Loo4me

    Boy, Menino turned on his heels pretty fast. Seems like he was preparing for this all the time he was supposedly supporting Occupy Boston. He needs to be kicked out of city hall.

  • Subscription

    so sad. Time for an email campaign to the mumbling mayor.

  • Subscription

    just went to the city web site to complain. As of 7:20 am the city site is down. Why, isn’t that convenient

  • Some Guy Who Lives Here

    What tools does the city need in excess of what it already has?  The controllers of the space have already asked that they be removed, these people are loitering.

    Public property is being monopolized by a minority of people, it’s already caused problems for other members of the public trying to use this space, and that isn’t fair.

    We elected Meneno and other members of government to represent our interests and run this city/state.  If we don’t agree with what he and the others are doing, then they need to be voted out.  A special ballot question related to this type of use of public property would also make sense so that we can get a true gauge of how the public feels–polls by media, special interest groups, etc are all biased and effectively worthless as a true gauge of public sentiment.

    I support some of the concepts held by some of the occupy movement, but I do not support all of the individuals currently claiming to speak for it (or the actions they are taking)… if the OWS movement cannot effectively self police, then they need to be disbanded before the actions and words of some members cause it to self destruct in the eyes of the general public–those that OWS are supposedly representing.

  • Justin

    This bothers me. These people are NOT utilizing their freedom of speech, like the Mayors of Boston and New York want us to think. They are utilizing their FREEDOM TO ASSEMBLE, which is located in the same amendment. Judges, media and everyone else, please start recognizing this.

    • JP

      I appreciate your pointing out this distinction.  But I don’t think the freedom to assemble means lodging indefinitely in public spaces.  Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t believe anyone has told the Occupiers that they cannot assemble – only that their continued lodging is no longer acceptable.

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