* Police say protesters will not be forcibly evicted
* Many protesters had left camp during the day
By Scott Malone
BOSTON, Dec 9 Boston police let a midnight
deadline slip to clear a park of protesters affiliated with the
Occupy Wall Street movement, but the protesters' camp by early
on Friday had shrunk roughly by half.
A crowd of several hundred people moved out of the park
that protesters had occupied for more than two months and moved
into the street in front of the Boston branch of the Federal
Reserve, blocking traffic in the late-night hours.
Boston Police Superintendent William Evans said police
officials did not plan to forcibly remove protesters, who
contend the U.S. economic system no longer works to the benefit
of most Americans.
"We're not in any hurry," Evans said. Then he walked
through the crowd, spreading that message.
Mayor Thomas Menino on Thursday had ordered protesters to
clear the camp by midnight, after a judge ruled they did not
have the right to occupy Dewey Square, in the city's financial
Protesters had spent much of Thursday taking down tents
some had lived in since October, with many saying they wanted
to avoid the risk of arrest.
"I'm getting out of here. I'm not getting arrested," said
Rachelle, a 36-year-old woman who said she was homeless and
pregnant. She declined to give her last name.
The Occupy Wall Street movement, which started in New
York's financial district in September, spread across the
country during the autumn, with camps sprouting up in cities
including Philadelphia, Los Angles and Portland.
Officials in those cities lost patience with the camps
over the past month, and police cleared out camps in cities
including New York and Los Angeles, arresting hundreds.
The scene in Boston was raucous through the evening, with
hundreds of people pouring into the camp to see what was going
on and a brass band dancing through the park. The crowd counted
down to the midnight deadline and cheered when it passed. A
couple - Aaron Spagnolo, 33, and Nenore Baroumian, 28 - was
married in the early morning hours.
Some protesters said they believed their actions had
brought economic inequality into the forefront of U.S.
"We definitely raised awareness that society is out of
whack right now," said Peter Grube, 23, of Boston. "We inspired
a new generation of activists."