Five policemen and a postal inspector yesterday raided the Boston office of the hippie newspaper Avatar. They arrested Avatar writer Edward Beardsley and seized all copies of the 11th, 12th, and 13th issues.
During the raid on the office roughly 30 people distributed 2000 free Avatars to crowds at Harvard Square, while four Cambridge police told everyone to "keep moving and stop blocking the sidewalk."
Junior and senior high school students took copies of the paper and tore them up, shouting, "Those hippies are faggots!" and "All the way with LBJ!"
The Boston police had a warrant for Beardsley's arrest on the charge of "having in possession for distribution an obscene paper" and another warrant for the seizure of all obscene matter, with instructions to burn it.
A patrolman said that the Cambridge police could not arrest Avatar distributors because an order to declare the 12th and 13th issues of the paper obscene is still pending in the Cambridge District Court.
Wayne M. Hansen, co-editor of the Avatar, said that yesterday's free distribution was a protest against the obscenity charges and Cambridge's arrest of two Avatar salesmen for selling without a license on Tuesday. Jessie B. Lyman, a writer for the Avatar, said, "The 11th issue [which was banned in Boston] wasn't obscene, so we made the next two obscene in defiance.."
Earlier yesterday two Boston police served a verbal warrant to Bob Roman and Gary Senderoff, owner of the Like Nothing Else store on Charles St. Roman, who works in the store, said that he sold a plainclothesman a copy of the Avatar on Tuesday.
Roman said he knew that the man was a policeman, but "didn't expect him to find it obscene at all."
Joseph Oteri, a Boston lawyer, will defend the sellers in court.