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Police evict Occupy Boston protesters; 46 arrested

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 12:32 PM EST, Sat December 10, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police arrested 46 people Saturday morning in Boston
  • "Occupy" protesters have been encamped there since late September
  • "Occupy Boston is NOT done! You can't evict an idea! :)," read one Twitter post
  • A judge ruled that protesters' First Amendment rights do not extend to seizing and holding areas

(CNN) -- Police arrested 46 people Saturday morning after they swept through a downtown city square in Boston, Massachusetts, evicting "Occupy" protesters encamped there since late September, officials said.

CNN affiliate WCVB broadcast images of handcuffed demonstrators being led away by police, who first offered the group the option of leaving before making arrests, according to police spokesman Eddy Chrispin.

"The city is in the process of clean-up and trying to restore Dewey Square to its prior state," said Chrispin. "For the most part, it was nonviolent."

By late Saturday morning, an "Occupy Boston" twitter feed was abuzz with news of the eviction.

"Occupy Boston is NOT done! You can't evict an idea! :) The camp may be gone but the people, ideas & passion isn't," read one post.

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Another post promised to offer "details about the plan as soon as we know."

"For now, get some rest. It will be a big afternoon!"

On Wednesday, a judge ruled that demonstrators' First Amendment rights do not extend to seizing and holding areas on which they sit.

Authorities are "obligated by law to preserve Dewey Square as a space open to the public," wrote Superior Court Judge Frances A. McIntyre.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who in the past appeared to tolerate his city's chapter of the nationwide movement, later signaled that the area could be a safety hazard as winter weather rolled in, imposing a Thursday deadline for the group to clear out or face eviction.

By Friday, however, protesters remained firmly entrenched in more than 100 tents.

Saturday's arrests was the city's second large-scale action against demonstrators since the movement began there in late September.

In October, 129 people were arrested during a march in which protesters allegedly blocked traffic and refused to disperse.

The movement, which first sprang up in a Lower Manhattan park, seeks to highlight what it sees as corruption and growing income disparities between the nation's richest 1% and the rest of the country.

CNN's Dan Verello contributed to this report

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