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Security intense across the city

20 are arrested, 63 injured amid revelry, police say

For fans squeezed behind barricades along Cambridge Street, the first sign that Johnny Damon was about to round the corner was the low growl of 10 police motorcycles arrayed in V formation.

As the Red Sox rumbled by yesterday in their victory parade, confetti blowing in the air, they were surrounded by police in black tactical gear, trailed by more police motorcycles. Officers aboard the Duck Boats stood ramrod-straight as Damon, Manny Ramirez, and the rest mugged and leaned out for the fans.

The security presence -- on land, water, and underground -- was intense, restraining about 3 million people over more than 3 miles of streets, 4 miles of the Charles River, and more on the subway.

City officials reported 20 arrests yesterday, including five by MBTA police. They reported 63 injuries, 20 requiring hospital visits.

Fans said they appreciated the tight operation, after the drunken, bottle-throwing revelry that followed the pennant and World Series clinchers. Pressed into a jumble of fans on Cambridge Street, Debbie Disario, 46, of Revere said: "I wouldn't want to be here, if there were no police here. I wouldn't even come to an event like this."

Parade-goers could hardly turn around without seeing a State Police cruiser or police motorcycles from Weymouth, Stoughton, Lowell, and other cities.

National Guard troops set up barriers along the route, MBTA police guided commuters at T stops, and city officers stood watch.

Some fans attributed the placid atmosphere to the early hour and the fact that most people were clutching coffee cups, not beer cans.

"It's the morning," said Adam Wilczek, 21, a senior at University of Massachusetts-Amherst who watched from Boylston Street. "Plus, it's not right after a game so we're not as wound-up. We've slept on it."

His friend, Ganesh Prasad, 21, surveyed the older fans in chairs and babies riding shoulders and saw another reason for the calm.

"This is more family-oriented; it's not a bar scene," he said, letting rip a yawn at 11 a.m. "It's ridiculously early."

The most serious arrest of the day was made just after the parade got underway at 10 a.m., and did not involve raucous fans.

A man had walked unarmed into a Sovereign Bank on Massachusetts Avenue a few blocks from the parade route at 10:34 a.m., handed the teller a note, and demanded large bills, police said.

The man was given the money, but when he went out the wrong door, another bank employee tried to stop him, said Nadine Taylor-Miller, a police spokeswoman.

The suspect got into a cab stuck in traffic, then got out and ran into a Westland Avenue garage, but was pursued by a State Police officer who happened to be on the corner in front of the bank, Taylor-Miller said.

John E. O'Connor, 27, of Boston, was arrested by the trooper and charged with unarmed robbery, said John Boyle, a spokesman for the Boston police. The trooper recovered the cash; police would not say how much was taken.

Even with the security, the parade brought fans to within feet of their favorite ballplayers, a danger that was underscored when star pitcher Pedro Martinez was beaned while riding a Duck Boat on the Charles River by a ball thrown from shore. Martinez was not seriously hurt.

But overall, police said they were pleased that no major problems occurred during the huge gathering organized with a few days' notice.

Boston police did not release details about the 15 arrests they made. Some may have involved college students.

Of the five people arrested by MBTA officers, one man was charged with domestic assault for allegedly throwing juice at his wife and two people were cited for underage drinking, spokesman Joseph Pesaturo said. Two more were arrested for disorderly conduct.

Without much mayhem to worry about, some officers could not resist the allure of the celebration, 86 years in the making. Inside Fenway Park, Ramirez, David Ortiz, and other players signed autographs for starstruck officers.

A State Police trooper near Massachusetts General Hospital led fans in choruses of "Sweet Caroline" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," waving his hands like Keith Lockhart with a conductor's baton.

"We oughtta do the wave," he instructed his loyal following as the Duck Boats neared.

"You gotta do the wave, right?"

Maria Sacchetti of the Globe staff and correspondent Patrick J. Calnan contributed to this report.

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