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Marshals Patrol Convention Site

June 11, 2004|From Associated Press

BOSTON — U.S. marshals on Thursday began patrolling outside the site of the Democratic National Convention to ensure that picketing police officers did not block the start of construction work for next month's political gathering.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro said at a hearing earlier in the day that he would use the marshals to patrol the FleetCenter, the site of the July 26-29 convention, and report violations of an order he issued last week. The hearing was held after the city filed a motion to hold the union in contempt for passing out leaflets, which has delayed the $14-million project.

Tauro's order allows police, who have been without a labor contract for two years, to hand out leaflets protesting contract talks with the city, but not to block construction work needed to turn the sports arena into a convention hall.

For two days, many of those construction and telephone workers turned away after being confronted by angry police officers carrying banners and yelling, "Go home!"

The once sprawling picket line had dwindled in size Thursday, but it will not disappear, said Thomas Nee, president of the Boston Police Patrolmen's Assn. "The city of Boston attempted to shut down the pickets," he said. "They have not been successful. We're not going away."

Tauro's order will be put to a test today, when the Democratic National Convention Committee will attempt to send in trucks and workers to begin the construction project.

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