‘Occupy Philly’ takes time prepping protest

Originally planned to take place inside the Wooden Shoe bookstore, a crowd of more 150 people came to check out the first meeting of “Occupy Philadelphia” Thursday and overwhelmed the small business.

Instead, the crowd streamed north to the Arch Street United Methodist Church to debate the plans to their first protest, which may take place this week — already three weeks since protesters began camping out on Wall Street in Lower Manhattan.

The planning meeting involved creation of smaller committees to be in charge of various pieces of the protest. These committees varied from security, medics and media outreach to training participants in nonviolent confrontation.

“This is the alleged cradle of freedom, it would be nice to see some freedom taking place,” said lawyer Lawrence Krasner, one of two attorneys working with the movement. “Sadly, Philadelphia is more intolerant of free speech than New York and Seattle on many occasions.”

There was much excitement among those at the meeting that this movement — which will involve long-term occupation of a public space — will be effective.

“People would march a day, and it wouldn’t change anything,” said Jody Dodd. “People here just want to carry the message that 99 percent are fed up.”

Meeting again tomorrow

The eight people gathered yesterday at LOVE Park were not yet sure where they intended to occupy when Occupy Philly does eventually make its stand; they were simply continuing to stir the pot locally.

“We are the best-organized outreach arm of the Occupy movement in the country,” said Steve Ross.

“In general, organization is our weakness and chaos is our strength,” another member Jacob Russell said of movement’s work in New York City so far. “But we want to rouse people’s curiosity.”

Holding clipboards and flyers, members assured that they wanted to amass as many people as possible before settling on a location and ethos.

Occupy Philly will hold a general assembly meeting 6:30 p.m. tomorrow at Arch Street United Methodist Church on Broad andArch streets.

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