Unless you have been living under a rock for the past month, you have heard of the Occupy Wall Street Protest, which soon led to sister protests in several other cities, including Boston.
The protestors, who are mainly college students, have said that their goal is to take a stand against so-called Wall Street excesses and the unfair gap between the rich and the poor. Although the protest is said to be peaceful, whenever there is protesting, it is possible that innocent people could sustain serious injuries.
Occupy Boston Protesters originally set up tents in downtown Boston’s Dewey Square Park about a month ago, but on Monday they claimed new ground and expanded to a bigger area by Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. To the Boston Police Department, this was an unwelcomed move.
The BPD allegedly gave the protestors an ultimatum late Monday, saying that the protestors needed to retreat to their original space by sundown or they would be forcibly removed. Then, when the protestors did not comply, police reportedly arrested about 100 protesters just after 1 a.m.
According to reports, there were hundreds of Boston and Transit police officers, some in full riot gear, who moved in on the protestors. Allegedly, police handcuffed many of the protestors and tore down their tents. A spokesperson for Occupy Boston said in a news release that the group was “brutally attacked.”
Although the Boston Police Department said it would respect a peaceful protest, Boston’s mayor said that “[c]ivil disobedience will not be tolerated.”
Of course, American citizens are afforded the right to peacefully protest so long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. But there is often disagreement as to when that line is crossed.
It is certainly possible that personal injury lawsuits could result from these protests if police use unnecessary force or there are people injured by the negligence or willful conduct of others.
Source: Reuters, “Scores arrested at Occupy Boston protest site,” Ros Krasny, Oct. 11, 2011.