UPDATE: Boston Police Arrest Occupy Protesters
Police said they would forcefully vacate both 'Occupy Boston' camps if activists do not leave a second encampment, a spokesman said.
LAST UPDATE—2:35 A.M. ON TUESDAY
Note: Redditors, be sure to check out the on-the-scene video from our latest post for the most up-to-date information.
Boston Police moved in on a patch of the Rose Kennedy Greenway between Congress Street and Pearl Street at approximately 1:20 a.m. on Tuesday morning and began arresting activists participating in the "Occupy Boston" protests downtown.
On Monday, the protesters faced an ultimatum by Mayor Tom Menino: return to your original occupation in Dewey Square, or face eviction by the police. Protestors had expanded to the second, new camp site between Congress and Pearl.
Protesters expected police action at midnight, but the bell tolled 12 without any stir.
Eighty minutes later, however, Boston Police wearing protective vests and carrying helmets marched in from side streets and surrounded the new camp site, announcing that protesters had minutes to disperse or they would face arrest.
By approximately 2:10 a.m., the camp site had been generally cleared of both protesters and tents.
A flyer distributed by Boston Police earlier in the evening at the camp site said that if "you are unlawfully assembling, or trespassing, you will not be allowed to remain in the area. Please immediately leave the area with your belongings, or you will be subject to arrest." The same flyer defined trespassing as "remaining upon land of another after having been forbidden to do so by a person who has lawful control over the premises."
A video posted on YouTube (attached) showed a Boston Police officer saying through a bullhorn protesters would "be locked up for trespassing and unlawful. This is our last notice before we move in and clear the park." A woman yelled out asking, "What's unlawful assembly," and the officer said, "we gave out flyers." Other protesters on the video were saying that not everyone in the park could hear the officer.
Police request move, protesters elect to stay
The group, which seemed to originally have the tacit blessing of city hall, expanded it's encampment in the downtown financial district across from South Station into a newer park, just a block north from the original location, between Congress Street and Pearl Street on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
However, the Boston Police Department said on its official Twitter account that the Greenway Conservancy recently invested over $150,000 in new plantings on that second, new camp site, and asked Occupy Boston activists to return to their original site. Boston Police also said that the original site "has not been renovated yet which is why protesters were given permission to be there."
The Occupy Boston Twitter account said, "We expanded to the new site for health and safety reasons. We do not have enough room at the old camp. We need 2 camps now." The account later tweeted, "Due to the huge expansion of our protest, we have decide(d) via consensus to stay in both greenway spaces. Hundreds here."
Earlier in the evening, the Occupy Boston account tweeted that it had been hijacked earlier, specifically in reference to now-deleted messages sent to Boston Police, and "we believe the acct is under control now. Pls keep this in mind- it may not be."
Police originally gave occupiers until nightfall tonight to vacate the second park, though that deadline has been extended to midnight. Spokesmen told the crowd that police told them if they vacated one property, they could remain in their original place.
Should they decline to leave, police said they would clear both sites.
As of 9 p.m. Monday, activists were still holding a general assembly - a sort of directly democratic legislative body that governs the protest - to gauge their response.
The crowd was addressed by the Rose Kennedy Greenway's Executive Director Nancy Brennan, who told occupiers that her organization - who maintains the public parks - supported free speech, but asked those in attendance to take care of the park if they decided to stay.
Her request was met with unanimous endorsement by the general assembly.
Brennan stopped just short of endorsing the protesters to stay, saying she would hold off on public statements until tomorrow morning.
Live video of the second camp site can be seen at http://www.livestream.com/occupyboston.
More information as it develops. Are you in the protests? Let us know in the comments.