Serial protestors interrupt Mayor Wu’s Mass & Cass update

A Massachusetts Avenue street sign.

A large group of protesters rallied against Mayor Michelle Wu during her speech in Clifford Park on Thursday, Oct. 20, as she addressed the troubled Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard intersection. Mayor Wu’s speech addressed providing help to the homeless living in tents along both streets and the safety concerns expressed by local business owners. (2)

Protesters that arrived at Clifford Park held signs that read “Wu doesn’t care” and chanted “shame on Wu” repeatedly throughout the speech. According to Boston 25 News, Mayor Wu attempted to share information to improve Mass and Cass, when multiple protesters interrupted Wu, shouting, “We are not noise. We are human beings,” and “Stop assaulting us!” (3)

The increased interruptions by the protesters only worsened, so Boston Police escorted Wu to local indoor offices for her to finish her speech. However, this did not stop the protesters, who followed Wu to the offices and continued to protest outside. Wu showed concerns about constant protests, discussing the protests and demonstrations that have taken place outside her home and several other public events. Boston City Hall reported to The Boston Globe that officials recognized several protesters at the Clifford Park event as anti-vaccine protesters. Certain individuals have demonstrated against multiple COVID-19 policy announcements for the city. Wu said that her staff and administration are working to better prepare for difficult protest situations like the one at Clifford Park. (1)

Since January of this year, Wu announced the alarming removal of 200,000 syringes from the Mass and Cass area. While the city regularly sends workers to deep clean the sidewalks of hazardous waste, residents and business owners stress that it’s hard to keep the area clean with the number of people taking refuge on the streets of Mass and Cass. The city has also sent crews to help relocate those living in tents to several homeless shelters across Boston. (3)(4)

In an interview with WBUR’s radio show, Wu expressed why she believed the Mass and Cass speech tracked so many protests and that protesters still target her. “There is plenty of passion and emotion and frustration in the community, and our goal is to not run away from that—and engage, to lean in, share information, be completely honest about where we are still not serving our residents and have a lot more work to do and to be able to lay all that out on the table,” said Wu. (1)

Due to the protests, Wu requested more assistance from the state in housing those living in tents on the street. According to WCVB, city officials have moved a large number of people living on Southampton Street to nearby Atkinson Street. This move caused several incidents of people getting hit by vehicles attempting to cross the street. (2)

Skeptics have argued that the city of Boston has been relocating these people to get them out of sight from commuters that travel on Mass, Cass and Southampton Street every day. Shana Cottone of Boston First Responders United stated to WCVB, “She’s the one who ran on a platform of ‘I’m going to do something’...This is her job to solve.” (2)

Boston is asking the state to help create 1,000 new threshold housing units outside the city. Mayor Wu reported the city has connected roughly 400 people to threshold temporary housing and another 65 people to permanent housing since January of this year. (3)

Sources:

1. https://www.boston.com/news/politics/2022/10/24/michelle-wu-responds-to-continued-protests-by-same-individuals/

 

2. https://www.wcvb.com/article/progress-made-at-mass-and-cass-but-boston-calling-on-state-to-do-more/41720130

 

3. https://www.boston25news.com/news/local/boston-mayor-wu-cuts-mass-cass-update-short-after-hecklers-start-shouting-over-her/VOZZX37ILBHNVF7W3I7LTL3AJ4/

 

4. https://www.boston25news.com/news/local/need-do-more-boston-continues-clear-mass-cass/F22NWAPB7BFN5FDASQOKLYVPK4/

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