Scores of protesters from the Occupy Boston movement were arrested in the early hours of Tuesday morning, including a group of veterans, in one of the largest mass arrests in recent Boston history.
Members of the Boston Police Department moved in to dismantle and destroy tents after protesters ignored multiple warnings to move from the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a strip of parks and public spaces where they have been camped out for more than a week, the Boston Globe reports. Members of the media were told to leave and not to film. Patrol wagons were lined up on one side.
Startling footage that has emerged on YouTube shows what is believed to have happened next.
Police appear to clash with peacefully protesting veterans from Veterans For Peace, an organization of U.S. military veterans who oppose war. The veterans’ flags, including the American flag, also appear to be thrown to the ground. All the while, the veterans chant: “We are the veterans of the United States of America” and “Shame! Shame! Shame!”
Boston police spokesman Jamie Kenneally said the arrests were mostly for trespassing.
Mike Ferner, acting director of Veterans For Peace, says that while he appreciates that police came in wearing ordinary uniforms instead of SWAT clothing or helmets, “It appears they did manhandle a few of our members. We need to remember the police are in the 99 percent along with the rest of us, and hopefully we can appeal to that important connection.”
After the protesters were moved from the park, police tore down the protesters’ encampment and dumped their belongings into garbage trucks.
Occupy Boston, a branch of the Occupy Wall Street protests, began the occupation of Dewey Square Park in Boston’s financial district without conflict on Sept. 30.
The Boston Police Department had issued warnings to the occupiers of the new encampment at the greenway that they were at risk of arrest because of damage to $150,000 in new plantings.