Boston Police Pass on Evicting Occupy Protesters

Boston — Relieved protesters at Occupy Boston let out cheers and danced in the streets early Friday morning after learning that, despite an eviction notice, the police would not evict or arrest members of the tent city that has existed here since Sept. 30.

The warning came after a Suffolk County superior judge on Wednesday vacated a temporary restraining order barring the police from evicting the protesters, who have been camped in Dewey Square, a grassy area in Boston’s financial district in one of the nation’s largest and longest-running occupations. The city then issued an eviction notice on Thursday.

“If you fail to vacate the property known as Dewey Square by midnight,” the notice said, “you may be subject to arrest.”

But that deadline came and went, with more than 1,000 people gathered at the site, chanting “We are the 99 percent.”

One couple, Aaron Spagnolo and Nanore Barsoumian, spontaneously decided to move their May wedding up, and were married right then by a clergy member who was at the demonstration, with their vows amplified by the “people’s mike,” the call-and-response typical of Occupy Wall Street meetings.

When the police announced around 1 a.m. that they were not planning to evict the camp that night, the crowd cheered and eventually spilled onto nearby Atlantic Avenue, as a brass band fueled dancing and revelry. Some protesters used felt tip pens to write their names and Occupy-related slogans on the street’s white traffic lines.

“I’m happy that my dance party will continue, and I’m happy that my general assembly will be where I want it to be, with all of my occupiers,” said Hannah Wallace, 19, as she danced in the street. Some protesters moved tents into the street; two people were arrested around 3 a.m. when they refused to leave them.

The encampment was much diminished from its height of about 200 tents on Thursday, after protesters cleared out more than half of the tents and other hallmarks of the small community, like its library and food area.

But the evening marked a transition that was inevitable, said Robin Jacks, a 31-year-old student who helped spark this city’s occupation.

“For a lot of us, it is a gut feeling that it’s just time to go,” she said. “We spend a lot of time worrying about these troublemaker-instigators in camp. I would like to see us occupy foreclosed homes, businesses that have been foreclosed on, make a point. There’s a million things we could do.”

This story, “Boston Police Pass on Evicting Occupy Protesters,” originally appeared at The New York Times.