Occupy Philly to Vote on Staying at City Hall

On Friday, protesters announced that after days of discussions the group would vote on a proposal to remain at Dilworth Plaza

Protesters with Occupy Philadelphia have proposed both staying at their City Hall encampment and expanding to another site across the street, despite the city's request that they move to make way for a long-planned construction project.

The group has had a village of hundreds of tents around the plaza for more than a month, part of a protest aimed at decrying the influence of big corporations on government and showing solidarity with the Wall Street protests in New York. City
officials have asked the group to move to another municipal plaza across the street, citing a long-planned renovation of the City Hall area where the protesters are now.

On Friday, protesters announced that after days of discussions the group would vote on a proposal to remain at Dilworth Plaza during the start of the $50 million construction project and also to expand to the other plaza across the street. The group was scheduled to vote on the proposal during its ``general assembly''on Friday night, said Chris Goldstein, 35, of Riverside, N.J., who is one of its members.

The proposal developed by working groups, Goldstein said, reflects the varying opinions on what the group should do about the city's request that they move.

``Some will resist and some will move,'' he said of the proposal, adding that if the situation escalates into a confrontation it would be due to an ultimatum from the city. ``I see the confrontation being less generated by Occupy Philly and
more generated by the city.''

A message left for the city's managing director, Richard Negrin, was not immediately returned Friday. A spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter did not immediately comment.

The city has told protesters that it wants them to move by Tuesday, Goldstein said, to make way for the plaza renovations. But he said the city is giving mixed messages on the idea of a move.

As an example, he said some protesters were removed when they tried to go to the site at the Municipal Services Building across the street after they attempted to start building a structure there last weekend.

So far, the protests have been peaceful, with relatively few arrests. Last week, nine demonstrators were arrested at the headquarters of cable giant Comcast Corp. after they linked arms in a glass-walled lobby and refused police warnings to leave. On Oct.
23, 15 people were arrested for blocking a road outside police headquarters.


Copyright AP - Associated Press
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