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Protesters dismiss city costs

By Travis Andersen and John R. Ellement
Globe Staff / October 15, 2011

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The Menino administration has spent $146,189.55 on Boston police overtime in the past 14 days as the city has dealt with the Occupy Boston protesters who have taken over Dewey Square in downtown.

Boston police released that information this afternoon. The department said its officers have amassed 3,056 hours of overtime since Oct. 1.

Earlier this week, police arrested 149 Occupy Boston members who apparently tried to expand their encampment onto the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Mayor Menino ordered the arrests, saying the city could not tolerate its impact on the commercial district.

Protesters entrenched in the tent city in the square said today that they did not regret costing the city money.

“I never thought about that,” said Laurel Byrne-Macmillan, 31, a nurse from Gloucester, when asked about the cost. “But you know what? Democracy isn’t free. … We have the right as citizens to inconvenience some people to get our point across, and that is one of the gifts this country gives to us.”

Byrne-Macmillan held a sign that said, “Bring our soldiers and our $ home. End the war.” She said that compared with the federal government’s spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, “This is a drop in the bucket.”

She also had a suggestion for helping to defray the overtime costs, “Why don’t you take it out of the bonuses of those CEOs [who received bailout money]? “Ask them to donate a little money.”

Thomas Joseph, 60, a retired teacher who lives on Beacon Hill, also said he was untroubled by the overtime costs.

“I think this is the worthiest of causes,” said Joseph, who held a sign that read “We are the 99% and so are you.”

Joseph said today was his first afternoon in Dewey Square but from now on, “I’ll come every day.”