Massachusetts State Governor Deval Patrick made an appearance earlier today at the occasionally clash-y Occupy Boston protests.
The demonstrations- a satellite of the flagship Occupy Wall Street protests- have attracted a bit more attention than some other locations due to a large melee between protesters and police last week as well as the size of the Occupy Boston crowds. And while most lawmakers have been commenting vaguely about the protests from afar, Patrick actually got his hands dirty with his surprise on-site visit.
The Governor briefly spoke to the Boston Phoenix after his visit, and while some of the protesters were less than friendly to Patrick and complained about his wealth, it seems he has genuine sympathy for and understanding of the movement. Patrick said of why he visited today:
…I’ve been trying to get down there for days in a way that was low key, because basically I just wanted to listen, get a sense of what was on people’s minds. And it’s hard to do that in my job. So it was kind of spontaneous.
His reaction to the content of the protests was positive:
And it was fascinating. I met with a couple of the organizers — very thoughtful, responsible people. It’s incredibly well organized — you’ve been down there. I saw the library and the media tent and the food distribution and logistics — really beautifully organized. It was chill [sp?] today. And they had some wind and rain damage last night.
Patrick seemed quite moved by some of the things he saw:
One of the things that really put a fine point on it for me was — if you’ve been in the library, there’s a white board and the caption on top says, “Why are we here?” And people write different messages. There was one message which I’ll paraphrase, because I don’t remember exactly what it said, which was that we have come to accept confrontation and injustice as facts of life, and that needs to change. Powerful.
You can read the full interview Gov. Deval Patrick gave after attending Occupy Boston here.