Man says he was assaulted by Philadelphia encampment resident hours before dismantling began

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A local man says he was assaulted by residents of the encampment along Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Thursday.

The man, who did not want to give Action News his name, said it all began when he tried to take a picture of the encampment.

"I stopped to take a picture of something I thought was interesting that had no people in it," said the man.

The 72-year-old-man says several men attacked him, including the man who told him not to take a picture. The alleged attack left him bruised and bloody.

RELATED: City of Philadelphia, Ben Franklin Parkway encampment leaders reach agreement

"They just started whaling on me. They were kicking me in the head. They were beating me up," he said.

He says it happened in the middle of the street during rush hour on Thursday. The alleged attack left him bruised and bloody.

"They just went around me, and around me, and around me. I'm getting it while I'm getting the hell beat out of me," he said.

RELATED: PHA, protesters reach deal to end encampment on Ridge Avenue

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The Philadelphia Housing Authority and homeless encampment protesters on Ridge Avenue have reached an agreement, officials announced on Monday night.

The attack happened hours before authorities started dismantling the encampment with heavy equipment, hauling away homemade barricades.

Police also escorted crews to clear trash from a baseball field in the park.

"It's a really sensitive situation," said Jennifer Bennetech of OccupyPHA, which has spoken out on behalf of the encampment in negotiations with the city. "People want to get the houses people are really proud of what they've accomplished by being out here all summer, but people are also afraid."

One of the encampment's demands was to give the people living there housing by turning over abandoned buildings. Philadelphia has agreed to do that by signing over 50 properties to a land trust established by the encampment.

They aim to turn the buildings into permanent housing. Under the agreement, everyone should be moved out of the encampment by the end of the week. Mayor Jim Kenny says the park will then be fully restored.
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