Occupy Boston facing full-court press to keep camping

The city has cited health issues as a concern at the camp.

The Wall Street protests were cleared out.

Then the Occupy Philadelphia camp was disbanded.

And now, the fate of Occupy Boston’s Tent City is on the line.

Protesters will go to court today defending their right to stay in Dewey Square using tents as an expression of the movement and free speech.

But the group is up against a 200-page court document filed by the city this week arguing the camp violates health and safety standards.

“The First Amendment protects free speech … it does not protect [the occupiers] desire to live in tents,” according to a document filed in Suffolk Superior Court and backed by Boston’s Fire and Health officials.

Last month, protesters won a temporary injunction that blocked the police from sweeping in unannounced and clearing out camp.

But Mayor Thomas Menino thinks that injunction should be lifted.

“It doesn’t mean that we’re going to be moving them … I just want to be on a level playing field when we go into the courthouse [today],” he said. “It’s the people’s land and we have to protect it.”

Carol Rose, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said she hopes the judge will continue the current order.

“I am hopeful Boston will be a beacon for how other cities can do it. We can be a model as an appropriate response to these [protests],” she said.

The ACLU and National Lawyer’s Guild have provided a pro bono lawyer to represent the group.


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