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Menino To Occupy Protesters: Clear Out By Midnight

BOSTON — (New story is here.)

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has a warning for Occupy Boston protesters: clear Dewey Square by midnight.

Menino spokeswoman Dot Joyce said if they refuse to leave police would take “necessary and appropriate” action to remove the encampment.

“The court order’s very specific that they’re breaking the regulations of the [Greenway] conservancy and they don’t have the right to be there,” Menino said early Thursday.

Menino says the reason for the midnight deadline is the public’s interest.

“I’ve always said from day one if you listen that we are not going to tolerate any violation of public safety and there are some concerns down there about public safety,” he said.

Following the mayor’s deadline, Occupy Boston tweeted: “If you can come to Dewey Sq now, we need your help packing up and moving valuable tents and equipment offsite. We need all hands on deck!”

The director of the Massachusetts ACLU, Carol Rose, says midnight is not enough time for people who want to leave. She also says police shouldn’t converge on protesters in the middle of the night.

“We can do better than that here in Boston,” Rose said. “We don’t have to do it just because they did it in places like Oakland and New York.”

The move comes a day after Suffolk Superior Court Judge Frances McIntyre rejected the protesters’ request to ban the city from removing them.

The judge said the protesters have no First Amendment right “to seize and hold” the park where they are camping, and must abide by city regulations.

A lawyer representing the protesters, Jeffrey Feuer, said he would hold off filing a motion with the judge to stay her ruling until after protesters hold an evening meeting.

“There is a reason for a movement like that, but they never came down with a specific issue or one specific reason and they changed every day and I think it’s important that we try to carry those issues forward, but not on Dewey Square,” Menino said.

With reporting by the WBUR Newsroom and The Associated Press.

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