The Boston Police Department forcibly arrested about 100 Occupy Boston protesters who had occupied a section of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway early this morning.
The arrests began at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday after thousands of Occupy Boston movement members were told by Boston Police Department officials Monday evening that they could not occupy a section of the Greenway that they had begun demonstrating in.
Occupy Boston officials reported on their website that police had “brutally attacked” protesters.
BPD officials distributed flyers Monday evening warning protesters that they may face arrests if they did not comply with police orders.
“The Boston Police Department respects your right to protest peacefully,” the BPD flyer said. “The BPD is also obligated to maintain public order and safety. We ask for your ongoing cooperation.”
The flyer also listed bullet points of what BPD expects from Occupy Boston participants and what Occupy Boston participants can expect from the BPD.
“If you are notified by the BPD that you are unlawfully assembling, or tresspassing, you will not be allowed to remain in the area,” the flyer stated.
“Please immediately leave the area with your belongings, your belongings, or you will be subject to arrest.”
However, ACLU members passed out instructions on how protesters could deal with police interference and Occupy Boston leaders posted a phone number for a lawyers’ group in Boston in case people were arrested.
Monday’s march was part of a larger movement that began on Wall Street in New York City on Sept. 17.
About 100 Boston University students left Marsh Chapel at 1:30 p.m. on Monday to march in solidarity with thousands of protesters as part of the on-going Occupy Boston movement.
The BU march was organized through a Facebook page called “BU Occupies Boston,” which has amassed more than 500 members to discuss tactics and plan the students’ occupation of Dewey Square, the main location of the movement’s sit-in.
Members of the group had met several times before to organize their strategy, and even discussed it at a recent Coffee and Conversation with Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore, according to the Facebook page.
When the march started, students from the legal and medical working groups went over logistical details such as eye-flushing, in case they were pepper sprayed, and giving out the National Lawyers Guild’s phone number, in case they faced arrests. Medics and legal observers also demonstrated.
The students marched in the streets down Commonwealth Avenue, carrying signs with statements such as “Students Before Profit” and chanting “Show me what BU looks like! This is what BU looks like!” and “1, 2, 3, 4, We won’t take it anymore. 5, 6, 7, 8, Can’t afford to graduate.”
The BU demonstrators eventually joined more than 1,500 student protesters from other Boston-area schools, including Harvard University, University of Massachusetts Boston and Northeastern University, at the gazebo of the Boston Common.
The march then continued with the rest of the student demonstrators as they marched to Dewey Square and sat in the streets, blocking traffic multiple times. Protesters from the campsite also joined the students when they arrived.
“I feel like [Occupy Boston] is something that’s been waiting to happen for a really long time,” said College of Arts and Sciences junior Ileana Tauscher. “I think it’s really, really important that so many people are coming together.”
Although the Occupy movement had been criticized for having no specific goal, Tauscher said she feels the “clear-cut goal is really sending a message to Congress that we’re not happy with the way things are going.”
Tauscher said she was happy with the turnout from the BU demonstrators, but said that there could have been a larger showing.
“It’s important for BU to join this movement because we’re a school with a very high tuition, and that is a problem for a lot of people who want a quality education that can’t afford it,” said CAS junior Brandon Wood, one of the main organizers of the BU students’ march.
Wood said he believes that the Occupy movements now spreading across the country have served as an “alarm clock” in the American consciousness.
“Everybody’s starting to wake up,” he said.
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