A Boston judge granted a temporary restraining order on Wednesday preventing the city from removing Occupy Boston protesters or the group's possessions from its encampment in Dewey Square, a reaction to the midnight raid on the Occupy Wall Street encampment earlier this week that resulted in protesters' expulsion from their base in New York City's Zuccotti Park.
Suffolk Superior Court Judge Frances McIntyre ordered that Boston officials refrain from removing demonstrators, their tents and their personal belongings until further notice except in the case of an emergency or outbreak of violence. However, the city still has the ability to seek a court order to authorize the removal of the protesters from their site in Boston's financial district.
Occupy Boston, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Lawyers Guild, filed a lawsuit against the city on Tuesday, citing concerns that they would be subjected to late-night raids from local police like Occupy Wall Street. Boston demonstrators experienced a similar incident on Oct. 10, when Boston police invaded their camp in the middle of the night and arrested 141 protesters.
Judge Asks Both Sides to Reach an Agreement
The restraining order was issued after Judge McIntyre asked both sides to reach an agreement on a proposal that would have the city give demonstrators advance notice before they were subjected to police removal, The Associated Press reported. Representatives for the city reportedly argued that such an agreement could possibly lead to violence if protesters' have the time to mobilize against an eviction they disagree with.
While McIntyre's decision has been hailed as a victory for the Occupy movement by some, the order will only be effective until a decision is made at an injunction hearing scheduled for Dec. 1. According to reports, the judge is expected to weigh whether Occupy Boston can be party to such a lawsuit since, like all of the Occupy protests, it has no designated leader or official representatives. The crucial point of whether occupation is an expression that qualifies for protection under the First Amendment will be debated as well.
Hundreds of unemployed workers and Occupy Boston activists are expected to participate in a candlelight march across the dilapidated Charlestown Bridge on Thursday afternoon to call attention to the nation's aging infrastructure and jobs that created through investing in its renovation.