Nine people were arrested inside the Comcast Center yesterday after members of Occupy Philly marched there for — as usual — multiple reasons.
Among the reasons were showing solidarity with Occupy Oakland — whose encampment has been plagued by reports of police brutality — and to protest corporate America’s tax loopholes.
“The people at the Comcast Center don’t pay city taxes,” said Blayney Stukes of North Philadelphia, who happened upon the protest on his way home from the market. “It’s a good place to demonstrate.”
Officers, including Commissioner Charles Ramsey, brought out nine people who sat in the building’s lobby to force their arrests for failing to leave the well known veranda marked by the massive LED television.
A middle-aged woman followed by seven young men and a young woman were led out of the building flanked by police escorts as a phalanx of protesters on the front steps cheered and bicycle police formed impromptu crowd control barriers.
“The conduct of police here has been very, very restrained and very, very good,” Ramsey said.
But many protesters disagreed. “I believe they’re tired of this s— anyway, and it showed,” said John Phillips, citing officers who drew their batons and covered up their badge numbers. “There was no need to have so many of them.”
“There’s supposed to be free assembly under the Constitution, but when you assemble, they bring out all these police,” said protester Ron Whyte. “Then they complain about overtime costs.”
Another woman arrested outside
A 10th woman was arrested outside the Comcast Center before the sit-in. “Police pushed passed her with their bikes and then grabbed her by the arms and threw her in the van,” a protester who would only be identified as Richie said. “She wasn’t doing anything.”
Another observer said that, due to the crush of the crowd, it was difficult to see exactly what happened, but that the woman’s screams could be heard down the block.