Last night OccupyMBTA.org posted a message saying that Camp Charlie, the group’s 5 day old occupation of the steps of the Massachusetts State House, had been temporarily evicted:
Just hours after Occupy MBTA testified before the Joint Committee on Transportation, Camp Charlie, the 10-day occupation of the State House steps, was temporarily evicted by federal authorities. Massachusetts State Police officers told the protesters that the Secret Service had taken jurisdiction of the State House and surrounding area ahead of a visit from the President of Brazil. The protesters, who had been occupying the State House steps since April 4 to protest MassDOT’s most recent round of fare hikes, service cuts, and layoffs, and to demand a comprehensive, sustainable, and affordable public transportation plan for the 99% of Massachusetts, were given only an hour’s notice to vacate. With little time to mount a defense, the occupiers at Camp Charlie had no choice but to put their supplies in storage for the night and clear the encampment, though the Commonwealth did provide trucks for the occupiers’ use.
After the camp had been cleared, protesters moved across the street, where they read the First Amendment using the People’s Mic. Police then announced that the sidewalk across the street from the State House was also put under Secret Service jurisdiction, and they were told to disperse. Occupiers chanted “Long Live Camp Charlie!” and vowed to return tomorrow.
Ariel Oshinksy, a resident of the encampment and a member of Occupy the MBTA, said that the move was “a ridiculous attempt to get world leaders to not see whats going on, that there’s dissent here. You’d think world leaders seeing that we were exercising our rights to protest and expression would be a good thing. Apparently [Governor] Deval [Patrick] doesn’t think so.”
The group will return Tuesday morning to protest as the Brazillian President Dilma Rousseff arrives at the State House, and will rebuild the encampment later in the afternoon. “We recognize that this is an unfair silencing of our protest, and we’ll be back tomorrow, stronger,” Oshinsky said.
Watch footage of protesters being evicted from the steps of the State House: