NBCPhiladelphia.com - Katy Zachry
The "Occupy Philadelphia" protesters staged a march around City Hall to press their agenda for social change. The crowd of several hundred demonstrators raised their voices and their banners, claiming to speak for Americans who don't have power. The movement that began on Wall Street in New York City came to Dilworth Plaza on Broad Street with apparent plans to stay until further notice.
The crowd began gathering on Thursday morning and swelled through the noon hour.
The event on Dilworth Plaza was a mix of of speakers, demonstrators carrying signs, chanting and some musicians. An afternoon march was planned around City Hall, with police on standby to temporarily stop traffic in Center City.
Organizers said Thursday's demonstration is meant to be a stand by every day Americans against corporate greed and the elected officials who they believe support it.
Ross said the goal is to be peaceful throughout the entire event. The organizers said they have obtained the proper permits and they’ve kept an open line of communication with police.
A large police force was assembled to keep order. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey did a walk through on Thursday morning.
The group remained peaceful and as of 7:30 p.m. no on was arrested, according to police.
A tri-state Tea Party coalition issued a statement on Thursday denouncing the tactics of the Occupy Philadelphia effort.
"While supporting the free speech rights of all, including Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Philadelphia, the coalition members roundly deplore the illegal tactics they employ, including sit-ins that interfere with the free flow of traffic," said the statement. The release included a reference to arrests of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators on the Brooklyn Bridge last Saturday.
The release said the Tea Party coalition represents American Sheepdogs, UNITEPA, Diamond State Tea Party, Cherry Hill (NJ) Area Tea Party, and the Independence Hall Tea Party.
Occupy Philadelphia has not set a specific date to end the local demonstrations.