Boston police warn protesters to leave part of the Greenway tonight
By John M. Guilfoil
Boston police were warning the more than 1,000 Occupy Boston protesters tonight to leave a large section of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway that they occupied earlier and relocate to Dewey Square or a small, adjacent strip of the Greenway.
Police were visible around the areas in small batches tonight, while protest organizers held a meeting on the Greenway, answering questions from the demonstrators.
Occupy Boston, in a statement tonight, answered the police warning by issuing a call “for any and all people to join the occupation as soon as possible.”
“From the beginning, occupiers have worked tirelessly to maintain a positive working relationship with city officials. Today’s threats by the Boston Police Department represent a sudden shift away from that dialogue,” the statement said.
Officials do not want the protesters, who originally settled in Dewey Square, to occupy the space across Congress Street on the Greenway because it recently underwent an expensive renovation project where expensive improvements were added, according to Elaine Driscoll, police spokeswoman.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s office said the city would not clear protesters from Dewey Square, however.
If police do move in on protesters tonight, some said they are prepared to be arrested.
“I think we will stand and be arrested,” said Nadeem Mazen, who called himself a part of Occupy Boston, speaking in front of the movement’s media tent.
Hundreds of protesters, mainly college students, marched today from Boston Common to Dewey Square in support of Occupy Boston and to demand fundamental and lasting economic and political reform, Occupy Boston said in its statement.
Two restaurant workers in the financial district said they saw a convoy of police vehicles, wagons, unmarked cars, and motorcycles pass by several hours ago tonight with more than 200 officers. The convoy was driving away from the Greenway toward another financial district building where protesters believe they are staging for a possible late-night confrontation.
Police also seem to be conflicted about what to do with the Greenway gathering. “I hope we don’t do anything,” said one officer.
Tensions and new questions arose late tonight when, at about 11:15, police issued written instructions and expectations of the growing group of protesters if officers demand that they disperse.
The notice informed the group of laws against trespassing on a new patch of the Rose Kennedy Greenway — bordered by Congress Street, Atlantic Avenue, Pearl Street, and Purchase Street — where tents have sprung up since about 4 p.m, and is also private property.
In a section titled, “What Occupy Boston Participants can expect from the BPD,” the statement said officers will “arrest those knowingly in violation of the law if necessary,” and that they will “conduct themselves in a professional, respectful and proportional manner.”
Police will use of video to identify participants deemed to be breaking trespassing and unlawful assembly laws, which could apply to the demonstrators, who planned to encircle the camp, lock arms, and resist ejection.
Police said that if five armed people, or 10 unarmed people, are found to be unlawfully assembled, “police can demand that they immediately and peaceably disperse.”
The notice also included the potential legal consequence for unlawful assembly (up to one year in prison and up to a $500 fine) and trespassing (30 days in jail and $100 fine).
At both the Greenway and at Dewey Square, “medical tents” have been set up with large red crosses taped on them and volunteers claiming to be EMTs, paramedics, and others trained in first aid with red crosses taped to their backs and shoulders.
Protesters have held up signs with the phone number of a lawyers’ group in Boston in case people are arrested, and the ACLU has passed out cards with instructions on how to deal with police if someone is stopped or arrested.
Globe Correspondents Derek J. Anderson, Matt Byrne, and Martha Shanahan and Matt Lee of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. John M. Guilfoil can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globe_guilfoil.
Occupy Boston protest one for all ages
by Peter Gelzinis
The usual blowhards have already dismissed Occupy Boston as “a bunch of dirty hippies at Dewey Square.”
So, how do you explain Marty Leibowitz?
This retired 71-year-old gentleman, who ran his own corporate headhunting firm, journeyed from Brookline to this pup tent village yesterday afternoon … on his bicycle.
“I’d like to see the group more focused on applying pressure to specific areas,” Marty was saying to Ryan Cahill, 27, a spokesman for Occupy Boston.
With two infantry tours in Iraq, Ryan Cahill is working on a finance degree at Bunker Hill Community College. Fact is, he looked more conventional than the former corporate consultant in the bike helmet.
“For instance, how about targeting all of this wonderful energy around changing the campaign finance laws?” Marty Leibowitz said. “And needless to say, there’s the taxing of millionaires and billionaires at the rate of 5.6 percent.”
I never did ask Marty Leibowitz if he was a billionaire, or even a millionaire. But he did make a living placing candidates into corporate leadership posts all across the country.
“I think this is great,” Marty said, “because it conjures up in me a lot of positive memories. It’s the way I feel on July 4th, down at the Esplanade with half a million people. I don’t see a mob, but people connected to one another, people doing something worthwhile that just might affect this country for the better.”
The most vociferous bashers of this populist movement targeting bank bailouts and Wall Street abusers have been — not surprisingly — Tea Party apostles whose primary focus was to get government out of their wallets.
“What we’re down here trying to achieve” Cahill said, “is real dialogue that sparks a positive change, one that can hopefully narrow the disparity between the few who seem to have everything, and the many who are struggling just to keep a roof over their heads.”
On my way out of this garden of tents and Coleman lanterns, I ran into another social justice veteran, the Rev. Robert Kennedy, pastor of St. Monica/St. Augustine parishes. My pastor, who proudly went to jail in solidarity with workers treated so shabbily by the Hyatt Hotel chain.
“Peter, this is where I’d expect to find you,” said the exuberant priest, who is a bit older than Marty Leibowitz.
“Father,” I said, “it’s a good place to be.”