After marching down to the Dewey Sq. site, we met up with several labor movement groups and marched across large swathes of the city. This group was 10,000 strong and included a vast diversity of people; from students and labor to seniors and young families. Everything was peaceful and relatively (as much as ten thousand people can be) orderly and we didn't have any problems until we reached the Charlestown Bridge. At the bridge several people attempted to cross a police barricade and were stopped; when they persisted two were detained and one was arrested. With the arrests, the march stopped and demanded the release of the two people in custody on the threat of staging a sit in on the roadway.
I was not there for the beginning of the following events, but I have heard many accounts from those who were there. At some point, a large group of Occupy Boston protesters decided that as we needed much more space, we should also occupy the area of the Greenway adjacent to the Dewey Sq. site and thus they moved in. This was not put to a general vote, but many people followed and it became the de-facto "second site". By the time my group of people returned to the Dewey Sq. site, the second site was already established. Many people, including myself, thought that this was not only a necessary move (due to our shear numbers) but a completely reasonable one considering the peaceful history of our occupation at the Dewey Sq. site. Quickly, a second encampment was set up and people gathered as in the first camp site.
We held the general assembly at the second site and discussed two primary issues:
- Why the democratic process was violated by a unilateral move into the second site.
- What we were going to do now, facing the threat of police action
At this time a group of people from the organization Veterans for Peace arrived with flags and offered to support us. They took a prominent position between the column of the police and the circle of protesters so as to support our occupation.
At 1:30, the police organized in formation on the sides of the park and we were warned that unless we disbursed we would either be removed or arrested. Most of the protesters at this point were either formed into a ring around one of the campsites or videotaping the events on the outskirts. The police action was as follows:
- The police entered the park and began pushing everybody not in the circle of interlocked protesters towards the sides of the park. This process was on many cases violent and I personally saw several times where the officer would even push the protesters off of the wall of the park and into the pavement. Nobody was arrested during the initial push, but several people received minor injuries from the police.
- Once the side of the park was clear of the protesters, the police pulled apart the circle of people and began arresting them and those who attempted to reenter the park. The police didn't differentiate between the protesters, medics and media; in many cases escorting the media and medics out of the area or arresting them if they wouldn't comply. This is simply wrong in that the medics are designated as neutral and there for the safety of all and the media are necessary to record the event.
- Once the large circle of protesters was broken up and arrested, the police began destroying our second site. They carelessly destroyed our tents and belongings by throwing them into waiting waste disposal trucks. Nobody was given a chance to save their belongings or tents which is particularly destructive when you consider the fact that the occupiers are living on site. I cannot even begin to assess the damage that was done to the protesters who were stationed at the second site.
I will post opinions on this event later today in second post, but let me say this now: We supposedly live in the USA, where democracy rules and everybody's rights are protected. Yesterday, a peaceful group of people protesting inequity were beaten, arrested and had their property destroyed. I for one don't remember the Tea Party protests being broken up like this (they were also covered by every new source); maybe that is because their corporate masters are also the same people who now control the police. I see this event as a dangerous sign that we have strayed from "a government of the people by the people where democracy rules", to "a government of the people, by the corporations, where corporatocracy keeps the masses under control through our own police".