City: No Occupy eviction before Thanksgiving

November 22, 2011 6:44:43 AM PST
Occupy Philadelphia members met with City officials Monday night at the Municipal Services Building to discuss the future of the protest as construction at Dilworth Plaza nears.

According to officials, occupiers will be given a 48 hour warning before there is an eviction of their tent city at Dilworth.

Action News is told there will be no moving of Occupy Philly before Thanksgiving.

As far as moving to another location, it is looking like the occupiers have been given the go ahead to move to the Thomas Paine Plaza adjacent to MSB.

However, there are restrictions in this deal.

The offer says Paine Plaza can only be occupied between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. No tents or permanent structures will be allowed.

The city says the restrictions protect the occupiers first amendment rights, but prevent unsanitary conditions coming from a 24/7 encampment.

Many occupiers are not happy with the offer of a 9 to 7 protest zone.

"I feel like it's not an occupation any longer," Will Tucker of the Occupy Philly group Reasonable Solutions.

Some question why the City allows a commercial enterprise like the nearby Christmas Village to build structures, but not Occupy protesters.

Some say Occupy should reject the city's restrictions and take over Paine Plaza with tents.

"That's what an occupation is," occupier Ally Nauss said.

Occupy Philly members will discuss this plan at their next general assembly.

The first signs of the planned construction project at City Hall appeared earlier in the day.

A crane was brought in on Monday morning to remove old scaffolding and equipment from the roof of City Hall.

Roughly a dozen tents had to stay put, but the people had to move for the time being.

So, Aine Fox, a member of the Occupy Philadelphia Safety Team, joined police civil affairs to move protestors from the northwest corner of City Hall to the west portal.

"Once things go up in the air, things could potentially fall," Fox said. "We went tent to tent, woke them up, to (a) make sure the tents are empty and (b) the people who were there were woken up and asked them to leave until at least 3:30," Fox continued.

"We explained to them, for the safety factor, we're not evicting them or anything of that nature," said Capt. Bill Fisher of the Philadelphia Police. He added that protestors would be welcome to return after 3:30 or 4:00 p.m.

Signs were posted last week telling protesters that construction was imminent on the $50 million, long-planned renovation of Dilworth Plaza.

Many occupiers are preparing to move to MSB.

"I think a lot of people are packed up and ready for the move. So, if it seems things are a little in turmoil, it's because we're starting the process of cleaning up," said Michael Pierce of the Occupy Philly Information Committee.


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