Reporting Jim Melwert
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As the City of Philadelphia continues to peruse the permit application for a protest group’s requested move to the plaza by the Municipal Services Building, some campers were being kept away from their tents for the day today while a crane moved some scaffolding pieces high overhead.
The group, apparently a subset of “Occupy Philadelphia,” applied for that permit last week, when signs went up here saying this current permit for Dilworth Plaza was about to expire because of the start of the construction project.
Other members of the encampment have disavowed the actions of the group that applied for the new permit, saying that it didn’t represent the intentions of the entire group of protesters.
This morning, Capt. William Fisher (right) of the Philadelphia Police Department’s civil affairs unit went tent-to-tent in a small section of the Occupy Philadelphia encampment, telling people they need to stay out of their tents until at least 4pm as a crane removing scaffolding from the roof of City Hall operated along the north side of the building and the arm would be swinging over those tents.
“It’s a safety issue,” he explained.
Notices went up last week telling the Occupy Philadelphia movement their permit was about to expire and they would have to make way for planned construction work on Dilworth Plaza.
Notices were posted Wednesday saying their current permit is expiring as that construction project is imminent.
On Thursday, some protesters tried to move across the street to the plaza by the Municipal Services Building, but were told by police they can’t move without a permit.
But that permit was still up in the air today. Mayor Nutter said a permit will not be issued without conditions preventing a recurrence of sanitary and safety issues.
And city officials say they have not yet received any permit application from the so-called “general assembly” of Occupy Philadelphia, so it remained unclear that if a permit to relocate is granted, how many of the entire encampment would cooperate.
Meanwhile, Keating Construction had not yet received its permits to begin construction on Dilworth Plaza. No work will take place until it does.
A meeting between members of Occupy Philly who applied for the relocation permit and the city was being scheduled. One Occupy member, Michael Pierce, said he expects that’s when they’ll find out if they’re getting the permit to move across the street.
But he says, regardless, this is less about location and more about the movement. “Literally, if they threw us all in jail and threw the worst at us, the movement’s not us. It’s global. It’s an idea whose time has come and people are on board.”
Reported by Jim Melwert, KYW Newsradio 1060