Following police crackdowns in New York City and Oakland aiming to evict Occupy protesters from their camp sites, demonstrators associated with Occupy Boston have filed a lawsuit in Suffolk Superior Court in an attempt to block any move by law enforcement to oust them from their base in Boston's Dewey Square.
On its Web site, Occupy Boston announced that civil rights attorneys from the National Lawyers Guild and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed a court motion to protect the protesters' First Amendment rights to free speech, assembly and petition following heavy-handed attempts to evict Occupy protesters across the country. The lawsuit is one of many First Amendment lawsuits that have been filed in the wake of the Occupy movement.
The Greenway is a public park and traditional open public forum and, as such, is a place where rights of free speech and assembly are paramount, said Howard Cooper, an attorney, who filed the suit as a cooperating attorney with the National Lawyers Guild-Massachusetts Chapter and the ACLU of Massachusetts.It is unreasonable to suddenly and forcibly oust peaceful protesters from streets, sidewalks, and parks that have long been used as places for peaceful expression.
In addition to seeking a Declaration from the Court recognizing the protesters right to peaceful protest and assembly under the U.S. Constitution, the Boston lawsuit aims to secure an injunction to prevent police from staging a late-night raid similar to the Occupy Wall Street eviction staged early Tuesday morning.
Occupy Boston demonstrators had a similar experience on Oct. 10, when the Boston Police Department raided the encampment and arrested 141 protesters in the middle of the night.
Boston Mayor Concerned About Public Health and Safety
On Tuesday, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino told reporters that while protesters are safe for now, he is concerned about the public health and safety concerns posed by the protesters' encampment -- the same reasons given by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for raiding the Occupy Wall Street camp.
A Boston police spokeswoman told The Boston Globe on Tuesday that no evictions were planned for that day, but officials planned to continue to monitor the situation and make decisions on a daily basis.
Occupy Boston protesters organized a march through the city on Tuesday afternoon in order to express their solidarity with Occupy Wall Street.