All afternoon at the Dewey Square encampment occupiers would relay the latest gossip between camps like town criers warning of an impending attack. "Police are forming on High Street!" one would yell and then relay throughout the growing encampment. The tension was growing by the hour. They knew that even though their planned diversion that allowed them to expand the camp to another parcel worked the police weren't going to have it. No way. So what to do? Hold one of their town meeting style general assemblies and make a decision. The cops wanted them out by midnight or they were going to remove them, so the thinking went. Eventually they decided to stay and defend their new territory.
As darkness fell and tension rose the protesters made their defensive preparations. All the tents were moved into a tight circle while a ring of people locking arms lined it. Midnight came and went but there was a growing public safety presence in the area. Multiple ambulances were parked along with a triage setup off of Pearl Street, not exactly a sign of good things to come. Police blocked the on and off ramps to 93 near Seaport Ave and there were rumors flying about riot police here and uniformed police there.
Then at approximately 1:20 am a large column of riot police marched from outside South Station up Atlantic Ave. The crowd roared variations of "Who do you protect who do you serve!" and "This is what democracy looks like" as the cops marched up the street. They stopped directly across from the new encampment and waited for over 15 police vans to arrive. Shortly thereafter officers appeared at the top of the new camp and started issuing warnings to those in the camp. At 1:40 am the police barreled through the first line of defense the occupiers put up, an old veterans group carrying flags known as Veterans for Peace. While officers began arresting occupiers and tearing down tents they kept pushing others back, sometimes throwing them to the ground. People were screaming and yelling stupid nonsense at the police but most complied, albeit angrily.
Within twenty minutes the park was clear of protesters and DPW workers were throwing the remains of the camp into garbage trucks. Reports are that they arrested over 100 people and there were no injuries. The whole operation was incredible in its brutal and quick efficiency; it was over so fast.
Now, even though the police may have won the night the protesters might win the PR war. Videos of the old veterans getting knocked, and in some cases thrown, to the ground by the police will likely go viral. What may seem like a humiliating defeat for the occupiers could be another galvanizing moment for them similar to the walk-by pepper spraying in New York.
On the other hand this may further cloud what the occupy movement is about. They may draw more people to their events due to anger at the police but that isn't really what they want. They want to get whatever their message is out to more people and their message involves high powered bankers and government officials, not police officers.
Here is an unedited video I shot as the police entered the second camp.
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