Occupy Boston protesters assembled at Dewey Square on Tuesday night to march in denunciation of the New York Police Department and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The march came as a response to the eviction of Occupy Wall Street protesters from their encampment at Liberty Square, also known as Zuccoti Park.
The march of about 300 people proceeded down Summer Street toward Downtown Crossing, where protesters then sat in the middle of an intersection. One participant gave a small speech, his words echoed and amplified by the People’s Mic.
“If ever there was a domestic enemy of the Constitution, the NYPD has shown themselves to be it,” the speaker declared. He decried the brutality of the late night eviction, noting that the police used “batons, tear gas, flash bang grenades and the imminent threat of an LRAD Sound Cannon” to disperse and control the occupiers.
Many others offered their thoughts and comments as well, including one who said, “I have personally been informed by a member of the Boston Police Department that the BPD will not use similar tactics on us.” The statement was greeted both with cheers and skeptical eye rolls.
The march continued on towards the Statehouse, where the protesters held an open mic for anyone wishing to air their grievances. Some stuck to the particular focus of the march, shaming the NYPD and Mayor Bloomberg; others took up their own issues, decrying high student loan debt, the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the violent removal of Occupy-affiliated protesters from a squat in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Eventually word spread that protesters had been allowed to return to Occupy Wall Street. However, it was noted, it would be without any of their equipment or supplies, due to the rejection of a restraining order by New York State Supreme Court judge Michael Stallman.
The message given at Downtown Crossing and the Statehouse was repeated for tourists at Faneuil hall, some of whom joined the march upon hearing the story of the Occupy Wall Street eviction. After leaving Quincy Market, the march wound back through the financial district to Dewey Square for that night’s General Assembly.
Harvard students and members of the Janitors’ Union had held a small rally earlier that evening in the plaza by the Federal Reserve, calling for wage and benefits increases in their new contract. When the rally dispersed just before 5pm several attendees joined the larger Occupy Boston march. Hours after the conclusion of the march, the administration of Harvard University would agree to a tentative deal with Harvard custodians, preventing a possible strike.
Police maintained a strong but cautious presence throughout the evening, mostly following the group in large motorcades from several blocks away. Triangulating spotlights marked the march’s position as it moved through the city, the dancing beams circling above protesters as they wound through the city streets.