Tensions flare as homeless and drug users spread into South End

The contrasts of urban life were on display on a recent sunny afternoon in the South End’s Franklin Square, an oasis of greenery crisscrossed by diagonal paths that converge at a fountain.


While a man played fetch with his dog, another nearby screamed expletives from his bicycle. Among those strolling in the shade were two disheveled people pushing carts piled with their belongings.


Then a police van pulled up. Three officers hopped out, approached a couple sprawled under blankets, and told them to leave. The couple packed up a large black duffel bag and trudged off. An officer picked up a discarded syringe nearby. “Imagine if this was your neighborhood,” he remarked to no one in particular.


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