Friday Dawns With No Police Raid At Occupy Camp

By Phillip Martin

Dec. 9, 2011

Occupy Boston Atlantic Ave

Protesters on Atlantic Avenue at 1:00 a.m. Dec. 9. (Toni Waterman/WGBH)

BOSTON —  On Thursday, everyone thought it would happen: The Boston police would evict the Occupy camp at Dewey Square. And hundreds of demonstrators gathered at the square at mayor Thomas Menino’s midnight deadline to evacuate the site — some dancing and singing under the full moon, others reviewing their rights if they got arrested. Police gathered on the scene as well.

LISTEN: Phillip Martin's extended audio feature.

Ethan Harrison, who has emerged as a spokesperson for Occupy Boston, was resigned to what he believed was the likelihood of the camp being shut down at midnight. He pointed to two garbage trucks idling nearby as a sign of things to come. In October, he said, when the police forced the Occupiers to tear down an expansion encampment site, the City of Boston brought garbage trucks to clear out everything left behind.
“When I see this… it’s something we’ve been expecting, like when one sees rain clouds they know that rain is coming,” Harrison said.
But the deadline came and went, and the police didn’t raid. A night that began with tension turned into celebration.
“Glorious. A small battle won,” a protester said, as a few people chanted, “We are the 99 percent.”
“No one ever said the police were coming in… there’s a big crowd expected but that wasn’t our intention,” Boston police superintendent Bill Evans said. “We’re just working to keep the street open here.”
But Evans said his force was still prepared to oust residents from their tent city “when the time comes,” if given the go-ahead from Menino. Two people were arrested when they refused to get out of a tent they'd moved to Atlantic Avenue.
The city did accomplish part of its purpose: Occupiers took down about half the tents voluntarily, including tents that fed homeless people and provided medical services.
In an online “report card” poll posted by WGBH News, support for the Occupiers grew overnight. About 40 percent of people responding said they would give the movement an “A” for its strategies and effectiveness. However, the question is divisive. 32 percent gave the movement a “D” or “F.” Take the poll yourself to grade Occupy Boston.

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