By Dave Lindorff
Philadelphia -- Common Terry was in a buoyant mood as he marched along Market Street Saturday afternoon along with a couple hundred activists who, following a rally outside the Liberty Bell pavilion, headed over to Philadelphia’s ornate City Hall to join the thousand or so occupiers camped out there.
“We’ve been occupying places for a long time, said the laid off part-time teacher from Oakland, California. University administration buildings, parks in Berkeley, nuclear plants. And now we’re occupying the centers of cities!”
Terry, who says he has been shuttling back and forth between the occupations in Philadelphia and New York, said he had purchased a $60 Trailpass on Greyhound and was planning to attend a number of other occupation sites around the country.
The movement is clearly growing in size, and impact.
“This is cool. It’s a good thing they’re doing. Living democracy in action,” said two tourists outside the Constitution Center, as demonstrators marched past carrying signs saying “Hands of my Security and Medicare!” and “Tax the Rich!” and chanting “Banks got bailouts! We got sold out!
A second couple, Christie and Billy Leetch, down from Boston, said they were happy to see the occupation happening in Philadelphia. “The one in Boston was violently attacked by the police a few days ago,” said Christie. “It was really disgusting, watching them arresting peacefully demonstrating veterans.”
“I agree with the message, and with the civil unrest,” said her husband. “It’s the only way to effect change without picking up guns.”
While the demonstration at Independence Mall was underway, a phalanx of Philadelphia Police, mounted on bikes and wearing jackets that said “Police Strike Force,” waited in a line along the 6th Street Boundary, looking ready to roll out and bang heads. It was a strikingly aggressive image juxtaposed to the completely peaceful crowd assembled across the street from them, and seemed wholly inappropriate. The crowd ignored the biker cops.
Once at City Hall, it became immediately apparent why the city was complaining about having to spend an alleged $400,000 to “accommodate” the protesters encamped outside the ornate building. At every entrance to the block-sized edifice, there were 6-10 cops lounging around earning overtime and looking totally bored. City Hall, a towering stone structure that rises castle-like around a huge open square, was completely fenced off around its circumference by bicycle-stand-like metal barricades, behind which numerous armed cops stood...
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