Mayor Michael Nutter gave Occupy Philadelphia protesters some good news and some bad news. The good news is that they are being allowed to occupy another park. The bad news is that they cannot stay overnight anymore.
Occupy Philadelphia protesters have been given 48 hours to move from their City Hall encampment to Thomas Paine Plaza across the street on the condition that they can’t erect tents or stay overnight.
Under the new permit, the protesters can only stay from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the new plaza.
Nutter said Friday the demonstrators have until 5 p.m. Sunday to leave their current spot.
“Obviously I'm hopeful that everyone will take this advice ... to gather their belongings,” Nutter said at a news conference. “I'm not going to try to predict what’s going to happen on Sunday at 5 p.m.”
On Friday evening, an unhappy crowd gathered and chanted opposition as police began distributing the eviction notices. Occupy member Daniel Brouse, of West Chester, said he expects problems at the moving deadline.
“Some of these people are looking for trouble, so they’ll probably find it,” he said.
The protesters have been in a plaza next to City Hall for the past 51 days as a statement about what they call economic injustice, but the city says they must leave to make way for a $50 million renovation project.
The mayor has cited what he called “serious health and safety issues” at the current Occupy Philadelphia encampment, saying conditions there are “intolerable,” and officials said they do not want to see a repeat of the 24-hour occupation at the new site.
"They understand that the conditions on Dilworth Plaza can’t be replicated somewhere else and they are aware of the growing fiscal impact this movement has had on city taxpayers," Nutter says. "I am pleased that we have been able to work through our mutual issues and get to this moment."