As Occupy Boston entered its second week, 141 occupiers were arrested early Tuesday morning, with a video footage released with police seen attacking the peaceful protesters. The historical number of arrests was defended by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who also showed support for the protestors' cause.
Inspired by Occupy Wall Street, which has entered its third week in Manhattan's Financial District, Occupy Boston began with around 1,000 protesters in downtown Boston's Dewey Square, starting from Sept. 30. The demonstrators are calling attention to issues such as rising costs for education, housing, and health care, high unemployment and the bank bailouts of 2008.
The Square had become too crowded, and Occupy Boston members managed to arrange an informal agreement with the Greenway Conservancy that manages the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
As long as we didn't damage the flowers or the shrubbery, we were fine to be where we were, Joshua Eaton, a member of Occupy Boston, told the Huffington Post.
On its website, the Greenway confirmed the claim.
Occupy Boston organizers have been cooperative with the Conservancy and the Boston Police Department to date, and have agreed to avoid the planting beds and adhere to common sense rules, said the site.
However, on Tuesday, at around 1:30 a.m. EDT after a group of protesters moved from their official campsite to the Rose Kennedy Greenway, police began the mass arrests.
After several hours of silent confrontation, the Boston police gave a final warning and urged the protesters to leave.
You will be locked up for trespassing and unlawful assembly, an officer shouted through a bullhorn, according to the Post. This is our last notice before we move in and clear the park. All right? Now is the time to move.
In the next hour, some two hundred police descended on the protesters, allegedly beating those who were standing peacefully, pushing into vans and tearing down dozens of tents they had set up.
Occupy Boston released a statement on their website, in which the protesters expressed their decries against the Boston police.
Following this massive outpouring of public support, dozens of police vans descended on the Greenway, with batons drawn, assaulting protesters and arresting more than one-hundred people, reads the statement.
Members of Veterans for Peace carrying American flags were pushed to the ground and their flags trampled as the police hauled them away.
According to Occupy Boston, the detained demonstrators, as many as 141, were released Tuesday evening, after almost 15 hours in custody.
Tuesday's arrest marked the biggest in Massachusetts since a huge 1968 Vietnam protest, according to the hacker collective Anonymous.
Following the arrests, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino sent a mixed message as he expressed agreement with the protesters on the issues while defending the arrest by the police.
I understand they have freedom of speech and freedom of expression, but we have a city to manage, said Menino, according to Boston.com. I'm open to suggestions, but civil disobedience will not be tolerated.
Menino said he supports the crusade against corporate greed, and that he agrees with them on the issues. Foreclosure. Corporate greed. These are issues I've been working on my entire career.
However, you can't tie up a city, said Menino.
My message to them is, let's continue to work together, Menino said at a South End groundbreaking ceremony, according to Boston Herald.
It's about dialogue, said Menino, while denouncing the protesters for crossing two lines, by threatening to slow down the traffic by their march and by expanding their campground.
He even took the issue to Twitter.
We all want to fight for the middle class. Still, need to respect all our residents and make sure the City runs smoothly, Menino tweeted Tuesday morning.
Reportedly, Menino was meeting with Occupy Boston members on Tuesay.