15 Occupy Philadelphia protesters arrested after blocking Eighth Street


Image by wirewiping via Flickr

Philadelphia police arrested 15 people associated with Occupy Philadelphia on Sunday after blocking Eighth Street near Race Street just outside Police Headquarters. The sit-in began about 17 hours earlier as a protest march against police brutality nationwide. They were the first arrests since the movement began in the first week of October. Occupy Philadelphia, part of a larger national protest, is a grassroots demonstration against Wall Street and corporate greed that has taken on other issues, such as police brutality.

The arrests were made peacefully, and the Police Department’s handling of the matter even brought praise from an Occupy Philadelphia organizer.”This went off really well. The Police Department really showed the rest of the world, specifically New York, how to handle protesters,” said Julia Alford-Fowler, an Occupy Philadelphia organizer in its legal working group. “And I think they should be commended for being peaceful.”

About a dozen officers on bicycles surrounded the protesters, creating a blockaded circle with their bikes. Other officers on foot created a second ring around the group. Police issued three warnings, then began to remove the protesters, one by one, to be arrested. Some were carried; some walked. They were charged with obstructing a highway. A few dozen supporters and onlookers gathered to watch and at times chanted in support. “This is reality. Stop police brutality,” they chanted. Each of those arrested faced misdemeanor obstruction charges. All were released after processing, a police spokeswoman said Monday morning.

By late Sunday night, a dozen or so demonstrators were camped on the sidewalk outside Police Headquarters in a show of support, with three officers standing watch from inside the parking lot. Julia Gross, a student speaking for the group, said others planned to come in shifts from the City Hall encampment until the detainees were released, which they hoped would be sometime Monday.

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