Boston police closed in on the Occupy Boston encampment in the wee hours of Saturday morning, ending the more than 70-day-long occupation of Dewey Square.
The Boston police first issued an eviction notice to the occupiers on Thursday night. While some of the protestors removed their belongings, the half-acre encampment attracted more than a thousand people to the square, according to the New York Times.
The occupation ended peacefully, as city officials swept through the camp arresting dozens and destroying what remained of the camping gear with a trash compactor.
Despite ordering the raid, Mayor Thomas M. Menino said he remained sympathetic to the concerns of the occupiers.
“They shined a much needed light, still needed, on growing economic inequality in this country. In the end, they also acted with restraint, I thank them for that,” Menino said at a news conference, according to the Times.
Fenna M. Krienen, a Harvard graduate student in psychology who was present on Thursday night when occupiers were preparing for a raid, bemoaned Boston’s reaction to the Occupy encampment.
“I think that it’s unfortunate that Boston has reacted in a way that so many other cities have reacted, but I was so heartened to see how many people showed up. It seems there were around 700 the first [General Assembly],” she said.
But Sage E. Radachowsky, a research technician in a Harvard biology lab who was present the night of the raid, said that he believed the closing of the encampment represents an opportunity for Occupy to expand its horizons.
“I think this will allow the movement to evolve further,” Radachowsky said. “I think that there are lots of effective new avenues that Occupy can explore.”
Among the group at the Occupy Boston encampment in Dewey Square on Thursday night were 30 Harvard affiliates, according to Graduate School of Arts and Sciences student Neil Peterman.
Peterman, who is involved with both Occupy Boston and Occupy Harvard, said that Occupy Boston would continue even without the encampment in Dewey Square. The movement has spread already to a number of neighborhoods throughout Boston as well as to all of the major universities in the area, according to Peterman.
“The slogan is ‘evict us, we multiply. Occupy will never die,’” he said.
Harvard affiliates participating in the Occupy Harvard movement said they did not expect the clearing out of Occupy Boston to have any impact on the movement’s encampment in Harvard Yard.
“I see no ramifications. We stand in solidarity and we’ll continue to do so,” said Krienen, a graduate student in psychology who was present in Dewey Square on Thursday night. “We’re going to keep going.”
—Staff writer Mercer R. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Justin C. Worland can be reached at email@example.com.