A Boston judge has ordered the city not to remove protesters or their tents from a downtown encampment without court approval, except in an emergency such as fire, a medical issue or an outbreak of violence.
Suffolk Superior Court Judge Frances McIntyre issued the temporary restraining order after a hearing Wednesday on the protesters' lawsuit.
McIntyre will hear fuller arguments Dec. 1. She also ordered lawyers for the protesters and the city to hold a mediation session before then.
A lawyer for the demonstrators says they are concerned they will be forced out in the middle of the night as Occupy protesters were in New York City this week.
"This was a victory allowing Occupy Boston to have its right to be heard, not letting the mayor to decide, or the police department to decide, what our rights are, but the court to decide," said protester Eric Martin, one of the plaintiffs in the case.
Lawyers for the city argued the request was premature because the city has no plans now to remove the protesters. One of the lawyers, William Sinnott, fears the restriction would make it more dangerous to do so.
"There is potentially an influx, predictable or foreseeable, of potentially hundreds or more additional protesters before any action could be effected," Sinnott said.
With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom
This article was originally published on November 16, 2011.
This program aired on November 16, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.