BOSTON (CBS) – Boston police cleared out the Occupy Boston camp Saturday morning. Hundreds of officers moved into Dewey Square around 5 a.m., removing protesters who had refused to leave.
As expected, police arrested several dozen demonstrators. Officials said 46 people had been arrested. Occupy Boston says 35 were arrested on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, eight others were arrested in the streets and sidewalks surrounding Dewey Square, and three were detained in South Station. Police said charges included trespassing and disorderly conduct.
City officials described the operation as calm and peaceful. They say there was no violence from protesters and there were no injuries. Police were not wearing riot gear during the operation.
Boston Police Superintendent William Evans told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens that the operation went smoothly.
In Photos: Occupy Eviction
“As we moved in, the protesters were sitting down, not putting up much of a fight,” he said. “Nobody was injured and there was no confrontation whatsoever.”
Watch: Police Move In (Raw Video)
Supt. Evans said the arrests had nothing to do with First Amendment rights.
“The issue here is they’re trespassing on the public park with their tents,” Supt. Evans said. “After being given several warnings to leave the premises, they were arrested. Several were also arrested for locking arms and resisting arrest.”
Bulldozers and trash trucks were brought in to clear out the park, which Supt. Evans said was littered with tents, trash, and litter.
Department of Public Works crews were already planting flowers and shrubs in the area by mid-morning.
Metal barriers encircled the park.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports
During a news conference Saturday morning, Mayor Menino, Police Commissioner Ed Davis, and Supt. Evans all praised the police department’s professionalism.
All three also saluted the demonstrators.
Menino expressed support for the Occupy movement before saying that in the interest of public safety, the city had to act.
The mayor also noted that going forward, if Occupy Boston tries to set up another encampment anywhere else in the city, police will take it down.
WBZ-TV’s Alana Gomez reports
Occupy Boston members claimed victory after the raid, repeating a slogan that has become popular with the movement: “We’re still here. You can’t evict an idea.”
WBZ-TV’s Jim Smith reports
The group’s leaders were deciding how to move forward and had announced through Twitter that they planned to meet Saturday evening on Boston Common.
Occupy Boston took over Dewey Square on September 30. Boston police put the cost of police overtime for the two-month-long operation at around $1 million.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports on the clean-up
After a judge lifted a restraining order on Wednesday that could have prevented the city of Boston from evicting Occupy Boston members, Mayor Menino gave protesters a deadline to leave Dewey Square by midnight Friday.
As a result, many protesters cleared out their campsites Thursday, but the crowd swelled to the hundreds by midnight ahead of the deadline.
Several demonstrators remained in the encampment Friday, vowing to stay until they were arrested.
At 5 p.m. Friday, the Greenway Conservancy, who maintains Dewey Square, shut off power to the protesters. Food and other supplies were also being prohibited from the area.
Twenty-nine hours after the deadline, officers moved in.