(Please read this thorough and accurate article about the raid of Occupy Boston from The Boston Globe. The following is just my account of it and I was doing some serious multitasking, shooting mobile videos, plus pictures and b-roll. All images © Copyright 2011 by Lauren Frohne and/or The Boston Globe, please do not reproduce these images without permission.)
After Occupy Boston lost a court hearing on Wednesday that removed the temporary restraining order barring their eviction, the Mayor strongly urged the protestors to leave Dewey Square. On Thursday morning, December 8, the city issued a mandate that all occupiers leave the park, which is part of the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston’s financial district, by midnight.
The movement’s newest slogan was emblazoned on the wall of a building adjacent to Dewey Square around 10 p.m. Thursday.
Instead, thousands of supporters showed up. When the police announced just before 3 a.m. on Friday morning that they would not clear the park, the crowd swelled into Atlantic Avenue shutting down the street. The protestors even moved tents and lawn chairs into the street. Eventually, around 3:30 a.m., two protestors were arrested for refusing to move their tent (with them in it) out of the street.
As midnight approached, a protestor held his ground in the park.
Protestors took over Atlantic Avenue in downtown Boston early Friday morning.
Throughout the day on Friday, protestors and supporters trickled from the park, and by early Saturday morning only approximately 75 remained, despite reports that police would clear the park in the early morning hours. A few exhausted protestors were even seen holding signs asking to just be evicted already.
At exactly 5 a.m., police vans arrived swiftly and the park was soon surrounded by 250 Boston Police officers. They were not dressed in riot gear, and they began to quickly dismantle the remaining tents and structures in the park. Afterward, around 5:45 a.m. Saturday, the remaining protestors were arrested in the park without violence. Few images of the arrests exist because police pushed all the credentialed media into a small space on the sidewalk, threatening arrest to anyone who moved from the area, and blocked the view of what was going in the park with police vans and about two dozen officers.
Within a half hour, police had cleared most of the tents from the park and piled the refuse onto the sidewalk, ready to be placed in garbage trucks waiting at the curb on Atlantic Ave.
A small group of approximately 40 protestors waited to be arrested as police pushed media back to the sidewalk and later obstructed the media’s view with police vehicles and officers.
A sign at an entrance to the park remained as police began to arrest protestors and police officers filled the newly emptied park.
After clearing the park, police moved protestors, and media alike, away from the park to the sidewalk in front of South Station and remained in formation for several hours.
The remaining protestors taunted police, asking them why they became police officers and how they sleep at night. Some officers responded but did not engage the protestors.
It was a long couple of days for everyone at Occupy Boston — protestors, media and police. By the time police arrived, it seemed that many of the protestors were relieved that the eviction was finally happening and were ready to be either arrested peacefully or to the leave the park willingly. And although it was sad and frustrating (and maybe infuriating) for some of the occupiers, many seemed ready to move on to the next phase of their movement — whatever that may be.
Media, protestors and police stayed through the morning and the “re-beautification” of Dewey Square began swiftly after garbage and other refuse was removed from the park.
My final picture, taken (with Instagram) from the 12th floor of the Intercontinental Hotel on Atlantic Ave. at around 7:30 a.m.
If you have time, check out some of our Boston Globe videos from the past couple of days at Occupy Boston, including this: