Early this morning, police raided the makeshift camp of Occupy Boston and arrested anywhere between fifty and 100 people for the crime of sleeping in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Officials claimed the reason behind the mass arrests is because the Rose Kennedy Greenway, the second home of Occupy Boston, sits across from Congress Street where expensive improvements in renovation have just been made.
Police asked the protesters to keep the movement isolated to Dewey Square, their original location, but the request proved impossible since the square couldn’t hold all the activists.
Police assume the protesters will mangle or graffiti these luxurious renovations across the way sometime in the future. No damages have occurred yet, but the clairvoyant folks in the Boston Police Department have a bad feeling about all of this.
The Rose Kennedy Greenway’s Executive Director Nancy Brennan, meanwhile, expressed her support for the activists. Brennan’s organization, which maintains public parks, also supports free speech, according to Brennan. She simply asked the protesters to take care of the park during their stay.
However, there is another version of the story. In an interview with WBUR Mayor Thomas Menino said the protesters “exceeded the boundaries we set up for them.” Boston Police Department spokeswoman Driscoll says the arrests occurred because the protesters had moved onto newly renovated private property on Greenway.
Greenway is a series of parks and public spaces that cost private and public participants $150,000 to construct. The whole “public” aspect of the parks implies free use by the taxpayers who helped pay to build the thing, but in America, public space is quickly becoming private space that happens to be funded by taxpayer dollars.
Protesters of Occupy Dallas had a rude awakening when they discovered they would need to pay a fee in order to protest in Pioneer Plaza. That small, incidental fee came to the tune of $1 million. You know, pocket change, really. Totally affordable for someone who has lost their home, or is currently suffocating under $100,000 of student loan debt. The protest fee masquerades as an insurance policy. You see, the state is just looking out for activists. If the Dallas police’s motherly instinct happens to directly infringe on activists’ rights to freedom of expression, then too bad. I hurt you because I love you.
Dallas’s quandary is a microcosm of national pain. Public land is quickly disappearing as corporations buy it up for name rights, but also the right to use public servants (police) to deny other citizens the use of the land. And when stubborn citizens refuse to let go of the land, there are always eminent domain laws to assist corporations with their seizures. When all else fails, heightened post-9/11 security provides a blanket excuse to force citizens out of the public arena.