NBC10 Philadelphia, Byron Scott
Added police presence arise for a crowded city of 4th of July events, including the last full day of Occupy's national conference. Members of Occupy look to peacefully voice their opinions during the nation's birthday. NBC10's Byron Scott is at Independence Mall updating us with the latest information.
NBC10 has all angles covered as the Occupy National Gathering takes over Philadelphia from June 30 through July 4. Organizers say about 1,500 protesters are expected for marches and gatherings -- though as of Monday only about half as many people seemed involved -- in support of the group’s push for economic equality and other causes, with a key demonstration scheduled on the Fourth of July.
NBC10 Philadelphia reporters are committed to full coverage of the the so-called #NatGat activities in Philadelphia.
Here’s a daily summary of the Occupy National Gathering in Philadelphia:
Thursday, July 5
Wednesday, July 4 - Day 5
The final full day of the Occupy National Gathering offered up a new twist on America’s favorite pastime. As the Phillies blasted the Mets at Citizens Bank Park (9-2) at Franklin Square the “99%ers” took on the “Tax Dodgers” in a baseball game that even had cheerleaders on the sidelines. The 7th inning stretch featured a singing rendition of “Take Me Out to the Tax Game.” @danstamm (NBC10 web producer embedded with Occupy #NatGat) tweeted “The Tax Dodgers” beat the “99%ers” with “an unprecedented 20-plus-run homer. The game and a carnival, with pie-eating and other activities were coupled with speeches and discussions about economic justice that have been regular fare at the gathering. Ex-Philadelphia cop Ray Lewis addressed the crowd with his “Tax Dodgers” speech. Occupy numbers are difficult to assess because groups are spread out and searching out shady spots today as the Philadelphia heat wave reaches Day 7.
Key observation by @danstamm on Twitter: “Just walking around at #natgat you see people of different ages, races. sexes. The movement seemingly transcends those lines.”
The Occupy National Gathering final day news release calls for a full day of “visioning to craft a ‘blueprint’ for a democratic future,” to be used as a guide for occupiers. At 8 p.m. #NatGat marched from Franklin Square to the “Welcome America” festivities on the Ben Franklin Parkway. The marchers were stopped at 15th and JFK and confronted by police standing elbow to elbow. The Occupy members had nowhere to turn but the steps of the municipal services building across from City Hall, missing the fireworks and the chance to be a presence on the parkway. Only individual protestors were allowed to pass the police perimeter.
One protestor was taken away in handcuffs and placed into police custody, though it's unclear why at this time.
After Wednesday's key march and outreach, occupiers and musicians called the “Guitarmy” set off Thursday at 9 a.m. for a 99 mile march to Wall Street in New York City to deliver the blueprint drawn up at the Philadelphia Occupy National Gathering.
Tuesday, July 3 - Day 4
The Occupy National Gathering Day 4 focus turned to bank accountability on Tuesday. Work continued at the main gathering site at Franklin Square on a ‘Declaration of Interdependence’ with all participants encouraged to add to the document before it is posted later in the day. @VinceLattanzio (embedded NBC10 web producer) tweeted about an ice cream truck delivery of free treats from Ben & Jerry’s, as a Philadelphia heat wave reached Day 6. The Tuesday evening event dubbed the “Wells Fargo Circus” -- to teach about the consequences of predatory lending practices -- is planned as a family-friendly gathering. Speakers addressed the activists throughout the day. The Occupy ‘Guitarmy,’ a group of guitar-playing activists, is warming up the Franklin Square crowd Tuesday. They will be among those setting off for the “99% March” -- walking 99 miles to Manhattan and Wall Street -- Thursday morning.
Monday, July 2 - Day 3
The Occupy gathering set up camp at Franklin Square. Morning speakers addressed a group of about 250 people on a number of social and economic concerns. Smaller groups also engaged in conversations about Occupy plans and events. A Monday afternoon “protest for corporate accountability” targeted several Center City corporate business offices, including Verizon, Comcast and Fannie Mae, winding through Center City during the evening rush and stopping traffic. A heavy police presence, including Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, followed the march, keeping a close watch on the protest. Marchers returned to Franklin Square after about two and half hours, with no new arrests reported. At Philadelphia Police Headquarters some Occupy activists staged a vigil overnight and throughout the day Monday for the 26 people who were arrested on Sunday.
Sunday, July 1 – Day 2
The Occupy National Gathering had several events in Center City, including a march in solidarity with student strikers in Quebec. Some activists participated in a walking tour of Old City with former Philadelphia Congressional candidate Nate Kleinman. A second impromptu solidarity march for a jailed protester who was arrested on Saturday. On Sunday evening 26 more people were arrested and taken into custody by police and Occupier began a vigil outside police headquarters.
Saturday, June 30 – Day 1
The Occupy National Gathering began Saturday holding workshops, listening to speakers and staging a march to protest corporate greed, with stops at Wells Fargo and Fox News. Philadelphia Police and federal officers moved in on a group of about 200 protesters who tried to set up a second staging sight at 4th and Chestnut, away from Independence mall. There was one arrest.
Follow the Occupy National Gathering in Philadelphia online:
Occupy #NatGat on NBC10.com.
@DanStamm with Occupy on Twitter.
@VinceLattanzio with Occupy on Twitter.
Occupy National Gathering on Twitter.
Occupy Philly on Twitter.
Occupy National Gathering on Facebook.
Occupy National Gathering website.