Despite increasing crackdowns on Occupy camps in cities like New York City, Portland, Ore. and Oakland, Calif., Philadelphia officials said they have no plans to remove the protesters — yet.
“The city is not removing, evicting, or doing anything to anybody today,” said Nutter spokesman Mark McDonald yesterday. “It isn’t asking anybody to leave.”
The planned Dilworth Plaza renovation, originally set for mid-November, is currently mired in legal and logistical preparations and will not be ready to begin until as late as December, McDonald said.
“We’ve made it very clear that there is a construction project that will start shortly and when we get a specific date from the project manager, which is in this case is the Center City District, we will begin the process of preparing the site and that will necessitate the people who are now there to leave,” he said. “A lot of work had to be done and it’s not done, so they’re simply not ready.”
But the mood was tense at the Occupy Philly encampment yesterday, as rumors of middle-of-the-night raids and mounted police force sweeps circulated throughout the tent city.
Protesters intensified nonviolent resistance and de-escalation training.
“I believe a crackdown is imminent,” said John Phillips. “‘If’ is not a question anymore — it’s when.”
Ready to move soon
An Occupy faction called Reasonable Solutions that opposed the decision to remain at the plaza met with city officials to discuss the possibility of relocation, presenting a petition with more than 100 signatures yesterday.
“I’ve been hearing that the vote on Friday was co-opted by a group bussed in, so for all we know, these guys legitimately represent the majority of Occupy Philly and what happened Friday was something else,” city Managing Director Richard Negrin said.