BOSTON – Police officers swept through Dewey Square early Saturday, tearing down tents at the Occupy Boston encampment and arresting dozens of protesters, bringing a peaceful end to the 10-week demonstration.
Officers began moving into the encampment about 5 a.m. to “ensure compliance with the trespassing law,” police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said.
The city had set a deadline for midnight Thursday for the protesters to abandon the site, but police took no action until early Saturday, making Boston the latest city where officials moved to oust protesters demonstrating against what they call corporate greed and economic injustice.
As police moved in, about two dozen demonstrators linked arms and sat down in nonviolent protest, and officers soon began arresting them. The protesters were “very accommodating” to the officers, Driscoll said. Forty-six people were arrested on charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct, police said. No injuries were reported. The entire operation lasted less than an hour.
“In the interest of public safety, we had to act,” Mayor Thomas Menino said.
Occupy Boston said though its space was gone the movement would continue.
“We might have been evicted, but we shall not be moved,” the group said on its website Saturday. “We remain invested in the future of our movement. We will continue to challenge Wall Street’s occupation of our government.”
The Occupy Boston eviction won’t have any effect on other Occupy movements, said protester Mike McCarthy of Occupy Providence in Rhode Island. He called it a “continuous movement” that no longer needs to be linked to a specific physical space.
“It was very important in the beginning, but we’ve kind of made our network now,” he said. “The movement isn’t really the park anymore.”