A day after Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said that Occupy protesters are creating public-health and public-safety hazards for the city, as well as preventing the creation of 1,000 jobs, Occupy Philly came back with a statement saying that the city is trying to “divide and discredit” them.
At a news conference Monday, one of the protest's organizers, Gwen Snyder, said the city is trying to disparage the group. Protesters are decrying the influence of big corporations on government in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York.
Occupy Philadelphia protesters were not happy when Mayor Nutter made public statements Sunday, pointing out that the group’s refusal to leave Dilworth Plaza so that the $50 million revitalization can begin is actually damaging to “the 99 percent.”
Nutter said that the project will create 1,000 jobs for “Philadelphians, Pennsylvanians, who need jobs, who need to take care of their families, their 99 percent in their households." But those jobs can’t begin until “the occupiers” leave.
Nutter also said Sunday he was beefing up the police presence at the group's tent city, as the conditions of which have become “intolerable.” The city has asked the group to move to a different site across the street, but the group has said it will stay.
Snyder and other Occupiers said Monday that they are adhering to all the proper city health and safety codes.
Philadelphia Managing Director Richard Negrin says Occupy Philadelphia is simply playing games now.
The Daily News reports that the 40-day protest has already cost taxpayers more than $500,000 in police overtime and other costs.
Several members of Occupy Philly spoke on Nutter's criticisms against the group.
"I think that's something the mayor is using to demonize us," said one member. "I think that anyone here involved with any Occupy movement is a radical. We are looking for change and change doesn't happen by not being radical."
"The majority of people were absolutely for simply moving across the street and working with the city," claimed member Sharon Kind in reference to the group's controversial decision to not move from Dilworth Plaza. "By the time the vote was taken there was just a smaller group of people who were absolutely for not moving."
Occupy Philly also denied claims that they were being hijacked by a radical subset that wants a showdown with police.