Occupy Philly continues its National Gathering

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Occupy Philly continued their National Gathering demonstrations through Center City today.

Tuesday at 6 p.m., it was all quiet at Franklin Square, the base of operations for Occupy Philadelphia's National Gathering.

It was a different scene Sunday night when police arrested 26 of demonstrators.

It has been a relatively peaceful day, with just one small march through Center City.

About 50 protesters kept to the sidewalks with minimal disruption to traffic.

They marched on several financial institutions demanding everything from a ban on strip mining coal to a tax on bank transactions.

ACT UP Philly was trying to get the attention of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.

"Obviously we can't go up there to talk directly to them; we're hoping to reach the people at the Stock Exchange, people who work in the financial district here in Philly, as well as people on the street," Val Sowell of ACT UP Philly said.

Action News informed Sowell that at the time the Stock Exchange had been closed for two hours because of the holiday.

It was like that all day.

This is a movement that prides itself on democratic action with no central leadership, which tends to keep things fluid.

"About every six hours, it seems we have to rethink our schedule and prioritize things," Brandi Williams of Ft. Collins, Colorado said.

This morning they rallied around a group of veterans at Independence Mall.

They later broke up into small discussion groups at Franklin Square.

They're united against the influence of corporate money in politics.

But, beyond that, it seems everyone has their own issue.

It's become frustrating for some.

"No one has a monopoly on ideology in this movement, there is great dissent within Occupy which I don't always enjoy, but the First Amendment is the First Amendment," Debra Dickerson of Las Vegas, Nevada said.

Organizers predicted a National Gathering of 1,500 Occupiers to the city. They may have a third of that.

However many eventually swell the ranks, the police say they're working hard to forge a bond of cooperation.

"Ultimately, we want it all to be peaceful, everybody has their right to protest, to their First Amendment right, obviously we have an obligation to support that, as well," Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross said.

Of the 26 protesters arrested Sunday night, only four have been convicted of minor offenses.

The police are hoping to maintain the peace tomorrow when the Occupiers will cross paths with a Tea Party rally.

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philadelphia, occupy movement, local/state, david henry
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