Police put freeze on winter protections at Occupy Boston

These tents in Dewey Square may be water tight, but will they keep out the cold?

While mayors in other cities have ordered protesters forcibly removed from encampments, Occupy Boston’s members claim police are waiting for the cold weather to drive them out by not allowing winterized equipment at Dewey Square.

“They are trying to cause people to freeze,” said K. Eric Martin, a member of the camp’s logistics team. “That’s what they want. They are trying to flush us out.”

Martin addressed protesters yesterday after watching a video of a Boston police officer on YouTube admitting he had orders from his “bosses” to keep winter gear out of Tent City.

“We are afraid you have contraband we don’t want in the camp,” the officer says in the video. “Items … winter tents and any type of insulation materials.”

Martin said police aren’t acting in the interest of public safety and are trying to impede the movement by not letting them prepare for winter.

“They are waiting for us to be snowed out,” said Martin. “We want to keep people warm and dry … and they are getting in the way of that.”

Robin Jacks, an Occupy Boston member, said during a meeting Monday night that the group tried to bring in a “safe tent” for women, but police stopped them from setting it up.

Jacks said the tent was a winterized “Antarctic,” one that would shield the group from the cold weather approaching.

After being repeatedly asked what law prohibits campers from putting up winter tents, BPD spokes­person Elaine Driscoll said, “They are not allowed to have building materials because of the obvious safety concerns that such materials pose without the proper safety construction oversight.”
That news didn’t faze Occupy librarian John Ford.

“We are not going anywhere,” he said. “They better get used to this.”

Taking it to court

Civil rights attorneys from the National Lawyers Guild and the American Civil Liberties Union headed to court yesterday to protect demonstrators at Occupy Boston.

The groups filed a suit in Superior Court to seek a declaration recognizing the right to protest and assemble under the U.S. Constitution and the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. They also filed an injunction to prevent police from staging another nighttime raid to kick campers out.

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear



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