Menino: Occupy Boston must get out by midnight
BOSTON -- Mayor Thomas Menino told Occupy Boston protesters they must leave their encampment in Dewey Square by midnight Thursday or they will face arrests.
The Boston police handed out fliers to Occupiers on Thursday that informed them of the consequences -- including what they can expect for jail time and fines -- if they don't vacate by midnight.
Menino said he'll be encouraging the protesters to leave voluntarily.
“We’re asking them to leave according to their own will…After that we’ll make decisions about how we clear off the site in the future,” said Menino.
The ultimatum comes on the heels of Wednesday’s court decision that says Occupy Boston has a right to protest, but not to live on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
“I’ve always said public safety is number one and the judge said according to my statements and according to the fire department, police department statement…there’s a real public safety issue down there,” said Menino.
The movement arrived in Dewey Square a little over two months ago. Occupiers marched and protested against Wall Street and corporate America.
On Thursday, there was disappointment and anger over the judge’s decision and Menino’s deadline.
“It’s like telling you to get out of your apartment by midnight. No I won’t. I love the mayor and I love the Boston Police Department, but no one’s going to shove me around like that. I’m not anybody’s dog,” said Philip O’Connell, who won’t leave the encampment.
After hearing Menino’s ultimatum, some protesters broke down camp easily while die-hard Occupiers plan to confront the midnight hour, but it isn't expected to be with the masses.
A group met on Thursday to discuss how they plan to handle being arrested. Occupiers taught other Occupiers how to form a “human chain” in the event police try to forcefully evacuate them from Dewey Square.
When asked if it was worth getting hurt over the Occupy Movement, one protester responded, “Absolutely. If I hesitate for a minute to think a better world is not possible, and do not spend the time that I’ve spent with these individuals, proving that there is some hope left in humanity, then I’ve got nothing.”
“I believe in some things that Occupy Boston had to say and everything but I don’t want to get arrested. I don’t want to have any charges or anything on the record,” said William Krause, who is leaving Dewey Square.
Some protesters said they are going to stay in Dewey Square even though Menino has told them to vacate the area.
The ACLU issued a statement on Thursday after Menino made his announcement asking the city and Boston police to use restraint. Read the full statement here.
Occupy Boston has already planned to meet at the China Town gates after any action Thursday night into Friday morning. From China Town, they plan to march to the jails. On Friday at 8:00 a.m., protesters plan to meet back at Dewey Square and then march to the court houses where they expect many of their members to be Friday morning.
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