This afternoon at Suffolk Superior Court Judge Frances McIntyre ruling kept in place a temporary restraining order protecting the Occupy Boston Camp at Dewey Square. The order prevents the camp’s eviction by the City of Boston until a written decision is issued, on or before December 15. We are confirmed in our freedom of speech, our right to petition, and our freedom of assembly – at least for the time being.
During the proceedings, the City’s arguments hinged on concerns with our encampment’s safety and with the limits of the First Amendment. The Boston Fire Marshal, despite his dire assessment of fire hazards, was unable to show good-faith efforts to work with protesters to improve the camp — or that he even provided Occupy Boston the notice required by law of what he called substantial fire risks. Occupy Boston’s witness, K. Eric Martin, articulated the importance of the camp’s present location, in the shadow of the Federal Reserve Building, to the protest’s message. He also described the Boston Police Department’s ongoing efforts to prevent winterized tents and other necessary resources from entering camp.
Today is the second victory for a legal team headed by Attorney Howard Cooper formed by the National Lawyers Guild, Massachusetts Chapter and the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. Last month they filed the motion for a temporary restraining order that effectively headed off the possibility that Occupy Boston demonstrators would be forcibly removed, as in other cities.
The Occupy Boston General Assembly yesterday ratified a “Statement of Health and Safety” stating that we “will be proactive and self-regulate to meet all reasonable safety and health inspection standards of the city.” As Urszula Masny-Latos, Executive Director of the NLG, Massachusetts Chapter, stated after today’s court decision, “If the main issue that the City of Boston has regarding Occupy Boston is ‘safety,’ then the City should work with Occupy and create an acceptable and workable plan for addressing all health and safety-related issues, rather than seeking the ultimate closure of the Dewey Square encampment.” We are ready to meet the challenges facing our community and continue our protest of economic inequality here in Dewey Square.