A Boston judge has ordered the city not to remove protesters or their tents from a downtown encampment without court approval except in an emergency such as fire, a medical issue or an outbreak of violence.

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Frances McIntyre issued the temporary restraining order after a hearing Wednesday on the protesters' lawsuit.

McIntyre will hear fuller arguments Dec. 1. She also ordered lawyers for the protesters and the city to hold a mediation session before then.

A lawyer for the demonstrators says they are concerned they will be forced out in the middle of the night as Occupy protesters were in New York City this week.

Lawyers for the city argued the request was premature because the city has no plans now to remove the protesters.