Occupy Philly members bracing for arrests

Some members of Occupy Philly are expected to face arrest by peacefully resisting the city’s 5 p.m. deadline to evacuate Dilworth Plaza.

Mayor Michael Nutter has ordered all tents and people be removed by 5 p.m. today in order for construction to begin on the plaza on the west side of City Hall, but the group says the city has not approved a permit for any other locations. A splinter group called Reasonable Solutions has been given a permit to protest on Thomas Plaine Plaza in front of the Municipal Services Building.

Occupy protesters held a 1 p.m. press conference to discuss the possible confrontation with police.

“We are disappointed with the city, but after 53 days of attempting to cooperate with them we are unsurprised,” said Diane Ackerman, of Occupy’s legal working group. “Tonight, the city may remove our tents and our bodies and in the press conference to follow we are sure the city will not discuss any of these important issues.”

“We will come back, maybe not to this space, but we will be back rejuvenated and strong,” Ackerman told a crowd of supporters.

Among the crowd, protesters were split on what action to take as the deadline approached.

“A huge group of people want to chain themselves to City Hall, but others are like, ‘Yeah, we’ll go,'” said Kevin Heaney, who has been living at Occupy for about 32 days.

Gwen Snyder, of the legal working group and executive director of Philadelphia Jobs with Justice, said Occupy’s General Assembly would meet tomorrow at Rittenhouse Square to discuss next steps. Among the options are selecting another public site, occupying an abandoned building or organizing “flash occupations,” according to Snyder.

“We haven’t made any final decisions yet,” she said.

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