By Brad Johnson / ThinkProgress.org
In one of the largest mass arrests in recent Boston history, the Boston Police Department cleared a park of over 100 activists with the 99 Percent Movement in the early hours of Tuesday morning, dismantling and destroying tents that had been set up on Monday. Startling footage shot by an onlooker shows members of Veterans for Peace, an organization of U.S. military veterans who oppose war, being arrested by members of the Boston Police Department, their flags — including the American flag — being thrown to the ground:
The police then tore down the protesters’ encampment. Live feeds from onlookers showed Boston Police dumping dismantled tents, signs, and chairs into waiting garbage trucks, destroying the protesters’ property.
Tuesday morning’s mass arrest marks the first significant confrontation between police and Occupy Boston. Activists in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street began an occupation of Dewey Square Park, a small park in the heart of Boston’s financial district on Friday, September 30, without conflict. The number of participants in Occupy Boston outgrew the space over the week. On Monday morning, dozens of protesters set up a new occupation on the Rose Kennedy Greenway between Pearl and Congress Streets, one block northeast of Dewey Square. Over the course of the day, the Boston Police Department issued warnings to the occupiers of the new encampment that they were at risk of arrest because of potential damage to the greenway.
Over Twitter, a department spokesperson warned activists the police wanted to “curtail additional damage to newly developed green space” because “the Greenway Conservancy recently invested over $150,000 in new plantings for all to enjoy.” The Greenway Conservancy is a private non-profit organization that raises funds for the public park. Its board is comprised of several of Boston’s wealthiest financiers.
Before the mass arrest and destruction of the second Occupy Boston encampment, police media relations issued a statement that “the Boston Police Department respects your right to protest peacefully.”