BOSTON (AP) - Several protesters from the Occupy Boston movement were transported to Boston Municipal Court on Tuesday to face arraignment for ignoring warnings to move off a plot of land in downtown Boston near where they have been camped out for more than a week.
Boston police reported that they arrested 129 people starting at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, mostly for trespassing.
The Suffolk district attorney's office said 18 protesters were scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday, with 35 more expected to be arraigned in the next two days.
Nadeem Mazen and several other demonstrators who had not been arrested were in court Tuesday to show their support. Police were unnecessarily heavy-handed, said Mazen, 28, of Cambridge, the cofounder of a design firm.
"We saw violent police action ... despite the fact that we were peaceful," he said.
Police threw several people, including Mazen himself and veterans, to the ground during the arrests, he said.
"It was a disproportionate and unacceptable show of force," he said.
City officials and police deny mistreating demonstrators.
Mayor Thomas Menino and Police Commissioner Edward Davis have had a hands-off policy with demonstrators as long as they remained peaceful. But they said they will maintain order and safety if protesters get unruly. Davis said it was "a shame" that 10 days of peaceful protests had ended up in arrests.
The protesters, part of the national Occupy Wall Street movement, had tried to expand from their original site in Dewey Square to a second site across the street, along the Rose Kennedy Greenway. A local conservancy group recently planted $150,000 worth of shrubs along the greenway, and officials said they were concerned about damage.
Boston police had warned protesters for several hours that they would have to return to Dewey Square, where a tent city has been steadily growing, and issued leaflets saying protesters could not occupy the greenway.
Boston resident Matt Hollander, 25, said a group of veterans carrying American flags were standing between police and the protesters when officers advanced on them. One veteran, he said, was pushed to the ground, and a group of protesters fell in a heap.
"If they wanted to arrest us they could have done that without pushing us ... without tramping the flag," Hollander said.
Another protester, Shawdeen Vatan, 21, of Arlington said she was not surprised at what happened.
"We're being seen as a legitimate organization," she said. "People are panicking and trying to get us out of here."
Authorities say one person was arrested during an earlier standoff, where hundreds of students from 10 area colleges marched through downtown Monday, briefly confronting police while attempting to hang a banner on a Boston bridge.
The protesters gathered on Boston Common and marched in front of the Massachusetts Statehouse carrying signs that read "Apathy isn't working, Raise your voice," and chanting slogans like "Fund education, not corporations" and "We got sold out. Rich got bailed out."
They later marched to a Charlestown bridge near the city's North End neighborhood hoping to hang a banner.
Police blocked the bridge, which was closed for about an hour before the protesters dispersed. Two demonstrators appeared to scuffle with officers during the standoff.
The protesters on Wall Street in New York City and in Boston and other cities have described themselves as the "99 percent" -- a term they refers to Americans struggling to pay their bills while the income gap between the rich and middle class widens. They claim most Americans fall into this group.
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