strongMike Disman, Beacon Correspondent/strong
Freshman Kyle Knox was arrested along with 140 other Occupy Boston protesters early Tuesday morning at the Rose Kennedy Greenway after a brief face-off with police, who ordered the demonstrators to leave the park.
After marching from the Occupy Boston hub in Dewey Square, the writing, literature, and publishing major said he joined hundreds of protesters encircling a second, makeshift encampment hoping to keep Boston Police officers from clearing the area.
According to Knox, around 1:30 a.m., the protesters linked arms and formed a circle around the camp when police arrived in riot gear and began arresting those who would not leave.
“It was dehumanizing,” said Knox. “Once you got to jail, you were not on their level anymore.”
The arrests followed the Columbus Day march during which Occupy Boston protesters, who have been demonstrating in Boston since Sept. 30, were bolstered by hundreds of local college students, including members of Emerson Peace and Social Justice (EPSJ).
Knox said the zipties that bound his wrists limited the blood flow to his hands and the hands of some of those arrested turned blue. Knox said when he told an officer that he was in pain and asked him to change the ziptie, the officer told him to shut up.
“I felt that they were fair. But I did see police using excessive force against the protesters,” said Knox.
The ranks of Occupy Boston and the affiliated “Occupy” movement cropping up in cities worldwide continue to swell as more people come out to protest corporate greed and inequity.
Protests have now spread to 15 American cities including Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Austin and Philadelphia, as well as the United Kingdom and Ireland, according to Reuters.
[caption id=attachment_3813697 align=aligncenter width=200 caption=Boston Police officers arrested 141 protesters early Tuesday morning. Lauren Foley/Beacon Staff]a href=http://berkeleybeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Foley_Cops.jpgimg class=size-full wp-image-3813697 title=Foley_Cops src=http://berkeleybeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Foley_Cops.jpg alt= width=200 height=300 //a[/caption]
“I just really agree with the idea of rebelling in some way against corporate greed,” said Knox.
The student protesters began on Boston Common and marched to Dewey Square, where they combined with a group of union advocates and humanitarian groups.
Thousands then marched for about four hours, briefly blocking traffic at some points while dancing and chanting, “We are the 99 percent,” “This is what democracy looks like,” and “How do we fix the deficit? End the war, tax the rich.”
The protesters sat in the street at four locations, including Citizens Bank and Boston’s Fox News affiliate station before scattering at the police-blockaded entrance to the North Washington Bridge.
Grandparents interviewed at the scene said they marched for their grandchildren, and those grandchildren marched for their future. The brightly colored sign of a young girl, there with her parents, pronounced, “I’m only 10, and I’m mad as hell.” The back read, “I’d rather be playing with my iPod right now, but my future is at stake.”
College students and those who, as their signs declared, could not afford college, held their ground, marching alongside the children and senior citizens. Students from Harvard University, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Tufts University flooded the student side of the march.
The signs throughout the crowd detailed the students’ demands for lower tuition fees and more administrative transparency, chanting, “Education is our right, not just for the rich and white.”
As he watched the march finish at a police blockade at the bridge, EPSJ treasurer Matt Durham said he thought the moment he was watching would be historic.
“It’s always young people who have changed the world,” Durham said, surveying the crowd. “It was young people who helped end the Vietnam War and were integral to the civil rights movement.”
Durham said college students in Boston and members of EPSJ plan on being involved in the protests as long as they continue. Durham said EPSJ often encourages student involvement in social movements, and Occupy Boston is a perfect opportunity for members to become involved.
“One of the biggest criticisms of our generation is that we’re apathetic,” Durham said, watching the protesters march from a nearby sidewalk. “It’s inspiring to see so many young people participate and lead the charge.”