Forty-seven people have been arrested during a police clear-out of Boston’s Dewey Square Occupy camp. Public health and safety was cited as grounds for the eviction.
Police walked onto the square in two single file lines at 5 am, warning protesters that anyone refusing to leave would be arrested.
However, about two dozen demonstrators linked arms and sat down in nonviolent protest. Police swiftly set about arresting them. People were detained for trespassing, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. No injuries have been reported.
Police superintendent William Evans said the arrests were made with “no confrontation whatsoever.”
“They wanted to get arrested. It went very well, and we were very happy with the operation,” he said, as cited by the Boston Globe.
It took one hour for police to end the operation and tear down the tents. The area is now being cleared.
There have been numerous reports on Twitter that a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) was been brought to the scene in a police truck, but never used.
Earlier, city officials set a deadline of midnight Thursday for the protesters to abandon the site but police took no action until early Saturday. Many pulled up stakes and left the encampment after learning of the Thursday deadline, but others stayed, saying they were prepared to be arrested.
Boston mayor Thomas Menino had previously stated that the city had no plans to evict the protesters from Dewey Square, but later declared the occupation a public health and safety hazard.
He issued the deadline after a judge ruled on Wednesday that the protesters had no right to stay in Dewey Square.
William Evans said the department has had a good rapport with Occupy Boston from the start, but the encampment has been a “major drain” on city resources, reports the Boston Globe.
“Obviously, I think they overstayed their welcome,” he said. “We moved in when we thought (was) the best time so we wouldn’t have any confrontation.”
The encampment in Boston was first erected on September 30th. Protesters estimate that 100-150 activists were living at the Dewey Square encampment.