Dec. 8, 2011
BOSTON — It seems the end is near for Occupy Boston. Mayor Tom Menino has given demonstrators a deadline of midnight Thursday to vacate Dewey Square.
Sage Radachowsky is preparing for the inevitable, whether it comes Thursday or this weekend.
“Menino gave us a midnight deadline as of now,” he said. “However, we’ve been communicating with the mayor’s office saying there’s a strong chance we would voluntarily decamp by Sunday."
Radachowsky has been down at Dewey Square since the beginning. But on Thursday he, along with some other Occupy Boston demonstrators, were breaking down tents, carrying away food and packing up personal belongings.
If they’re not gone by midnight, Menino said on New England Cable News, “We’ll take action.”
Menino’s mandate comes a day after a Suffolk Superior Court judge denied the camp protection against a city-led eviction. Menino, once a stalwart supporter of the movement, said the camp now poses serious health and safety risks.
But Occupy Boston attorney Howard Cooper said a midnight deadline wouldn’t give occupiers enough time to figure out their next move.
“We really would urge the city, the Boston police, to allow that conversation to happen and not come in here at midnight,” he said. “We can do a lot better than that here in Boston.”
Similar Occupy camps have been forcibly dismantled in the past few weeks in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and in the movement’s birthplace of New York City, where hundreds were arrested. Occupier Stephen Campbell hoped Boston’s removal would be more peaceful.
“At least we have warning, unlike places like Oakland where they just came in with very little notice and it was very violent,” Campbell said. “We have the chance to remove ourselves peacefully, you know?”
Police presence at the camp on Thursday was noticeably beefed-up.
As for the demonstrators, Occupier Kevin Maley said they’re preparing for tonight too. They have factsheets from the American Civil Liberties Union telling them their rights. It’s “important information to know in case you’re arrested and it’s important that everyone know that whether they plan on being arrested or not,” Maley said.
As for Radachowsky, he wasn’t sure what will happen tonight, but he was sure about one thing: the won’t over.
“This is not the endgame. This is the mid-game. This is the time when we have things brewing in our minds,” he said.
Brewing in their minds — but not, if Menino has his way, in Dewey Square.
Watch the segment and discussion on "Greater Boston" at 7:00 p.m. Toni Waterman and Phillip Martin are covering the scene at the deadline and tweeting @toniwaterman and @phillipWGBH.
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