Occupy Philly Blocks Traffic, Later Attempts Move

Two dozen protesters under arrest, later movement tries to move across the street from City Hall

Occupy Philly protesters took to the streets Thursday to protest about the lack of jobs and eventually blocked traffic at the Market Street Bridge.

First they marched up Market Street then at night they moved their encampment across the street to Thomas Paine Plaza at the Municipal Services Building.

The Occupy National Day of Action protest coincided with the normally busy evening rush home from work causing traffic headaches in Center City, University City and beyond.

They began the march at 4 p.m. with an estimated 300 people marching towards West Philly. Once protesters got to the bridge around 5 p.m. some of them sat down in the middle of the street blocking traffic.

After about an hour Philadelphia Police gave protesters three warnings that if they didn’t get up and clear the bridge near 30th Street Station that they would be removed.

A little after 6 cops began to arrest protesters one at a time. As each protester was arrested they were taken to a nearby police van. In all, 24 people -- 17 men and seven women -- were arrested and face misdemeanor trespassing charges, authorities said.

"We gave them a reasonable amount of time to do that here on the bridge and held traffic while they did it," said Police Homeland Security Chief Inspector Joe Sullivan. "When people decided that they wanted to participated in peaceful civil disobedience and be arrested we accommodated them."

The arrests were orderly and there were no reports of injuries or violence.

By 6:30 most of the crowd had dispersed.


Later in the evening Occupiers met to discuss what's next for the movement after they were asked to vacate Dilworth Plaza where they have been camping out since early October. At that meeting they voted to move to Paine Plaza.

Around 10:30 p.m. protesters moved entire tents from next to City Hall to the Municipal Services Building plaza.

Mayor Michael Nutter's office said that the permit for Occupy Philly at Paine Plaza was still under review and that police were told to send protesters back across the street to Dilworth Plaza.

Around 11 p.m. protesters were moving back to Dilworth Plaza as Occupy's legal team met with Nutter to discuss the issue.

After midnight Nutter emerged from City Hall and said that Occupy Philly has a permit for Dilworth Plaza and nowhere else at that time.

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