The Philadelphia Police remove the Occupy Philadelphia protesters and their campsite

As we noted here, that while the Democrats initially liked the Occupy protests, seeing them as a 2011 counter to 2010′s TEA Party protests, the Occupiers were nothing like the TEA Partiers, and they were starting to get on even the Democrats’ nerves.

Philadelphia and Mayor Michael Nutter had tried hard to accommodate the Occupy Philadelphia protest and its “campground” on Dilworth Plaza, but it was obvious that the city was becoming increasingly frustrated with the protesters. There was no real leadership voice, and no one who could bargain in good faith for the protesters’ side. On Monday, the city cut off the electricity it had been supplying to the occupiers, and last night, the Philadelphia Police used force to evict the protesters.

Police clear Occupy encampment, arrest 40 protesters

By Miriam Hill, Melissa Dribben, and Troy Graham, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writers

Police swarmed around City Hall overnight and rousted Occupy Philadelphia protesters from their encampment more than two days after a deadline passed for them to leave.

The occupiers responded by roaming around Center City, scattering and regrouping with police following their every move in a chaotic night of cat-and-mouse that apparently ended before daylight.

The attempt to disperse the occupiers began about 1 a.m. – 56 hours after the city-imposed deadline to leave came and went.

On North 15th Street behind the Inquirer and School District Buildings, police arrested about 40 protesters before pushing them back toward Center City just after 5 a.m.

“We followed them around Center City all night long and finally arrested some of them,” Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said.

A short time later, OccupyPhilly reported on Twitter that protesters “who weren’t arrested or hospitalized have regrouped at the Friends Center” at North 15th and Cherry Streets. At least one protester was injured by a police horse, but not seriously.

At least two police officers reportedly suffered minor injuries.

More at the link.

The city was not exactly gentle to the protesters’ camp: Your editor was watching WPVI-TV, ABC’s owned and operated station in Philadelphia, and the video showed the city clearing out the protesters’ camp on Dilworth Plaza with front end loaders. If someone had a nice tent or an expensive sleeping bag or a high-dollar laptop sitting there, his possessions are gone, scooped up with a loader and dumped into a garbage truck.¹

When New York City forcibly removed the Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park — which is private property, not public like Dilworth Plaza — the protesters complained that 3,000 books were destroyed. The Wall Street Journal reported on the complains by a group of lawyers, librarians and activists “that thousands of books that had been stored in a “people’s library” at the Occupy Wall Street encampment were lost or destroyed when police officers raided and cleared the plaza.”

As police swept out the protesters in the dead of night on Nov. 15, sanitation workers moved in, hastily tossing sleeping bags, tents, computers and bongo drums into trucks, leaving the privately-owned plaza pristine and power-washed by dawn.

City officials say 26 truckloads of items were removed from the park, including the books, and that all were taken to a city sanitation garage, where owners may retrieve their belongings over the next few weeks.

Your editor would surmise, from the video on WPVI this morning, that the personal property of the Occupy protesters was similarly treated, though whether the protesters can go and sift through the garbage for items not destroyed is unknown.

¹ – Your editor is a loader operator himself, and he can tell you that you don’t pick up things gently with a loader. The operator cannot see through the bucket, but only judges where things are from what he saw before he put the bucket down to scoop them up, and what falls out the sides of the bucket.


  1. I’m actually pretty good with a loader, but if someone asked me to pick up a book or a laptop with a front end loader, I doubt that I could do so without damaging it. The loader I use isn’t a particularly large one, but I have a steel bucket, with hardened steel cutting edges, to pick up about three tons of sand or stone at a time.

  2. “On Monday, the city cut off the electricity it had been supplying to the occupiers, and last night, the Philadelphia Police used force to evict the protesters.”

    Supplying? At standard rates or free of charge? It’s a fair question given that Mayor Nutter turned a budget surplus when he took office into a huge deficit in record time. He also kicked the Boy Scouts out of their HQ, shut down city fire stations, and tried to close a number of public libraries.

    Also, I wouldn’t fret about fancy laptops being left around the hooligan’s campsite. They’re more likely to turn up at local pawn shops than in garbage dumps.

  3. I wasn’t fretting about the laptops; I was anticipating the howls we’ll soon hear about their destroyed property. As for Mayor Nutter and the budget deficit, after they forced School Superintendent Arlene Ackerman to resign, complete with a $905,000 buyout and $83,000 in unused vacation and sick pay, the lovely Dr Ackerman has stuck it to the city by filing a claim for unemployment compensation. She is eligible for the maximum benefit of $573 a week, or $29,796 a year, just as a final flip of the bird to Philadelphia.

  4. I picked up on that “supplied” electricity too ropelight. Protesting is fine, great even. It’s out right. But since when do the taxpayers of Philadelphia have an obligation to provide electricty or anything else to protesters let alone squatters and occupyers? That’s bullcrap! So now the right of protest has morfed into a right to have your protest subsidised by other people?

    When these clowns started with the tents and sleeping bags I would have turned on the fire hoses and released the hounds. The rules should be you can protest all you want from 9am till 9pm, then you gotta go home till 9am tomorrow. Oh, and if you don’t police your area, don’t try to come back tomorrow, the hounds will be waiting. It is not the taxpayers job to support your protest with utilities or clean-up crews.

  5. On the Editors note; “Your editor is a loader operator himself, and he can tell you that you don’t pick up things gently with a loader. The operator cannot see through the bucket, but only judges where things are from what he saw before he put the bucket down to scoop them up, and what falls out the sides of the bucket.”

    I’d like to suggest it’s time to place a camera on the bucket with a monitor for the operator to see. If the operator can’t see what’s in front of him he could hurt or kill somebody. We have the technology, hell three of my cars show me what’s behind me when I back up (one shows me the side view also). Why not on a loader?

  6. A camera on the bucket wouldn’t last a week. I’m constantly picking up stone, sometimes regular crushed stone, but often, in cleaning up the yard, some rather large chunks of concrete.

    I can see around the bucket, over the top and on both sides; it’s simply that the operator cannot see what he is picking up as he’s picking it up; for that, you use your judgement from what you saw before.

  7. Actually, I have much more sympathy for the Occupiers’ rights than you might guess: the Constitution specifies that the people have the right to assemble peaceably to petition the government for a redress of grievances. I have less sympathy for the occupiers themselves than I do for their rights, because they’re idiots; the idea that they shut down a jobsite that would have provided about 800 jobs, so they could protest joblessness, is utterly mindless.

    Personally, I’d have forced them to move across the street, so as not to interfere with the rights of others to work, not provided them any city services, and waited until winter weather discouraged them. If one of them showed up at the emergency room with frostbite, unless he had insurance to pay for it, I’d throw him back out into the cold.

  8. I have sympathy for protest but as you said: “the Constitution specifies that the people have the right to assemble peaceably to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” But they’re NOT petitioning government for anything, they’re “Occupying Wall Street”. The Constitution gives no one the right to occupy private property or public property, only to protest or, “petition”. If they had occupied the White House or the Capitol, I could maybe agree. But again, protest is NOT occupation. Occupation to me sounds more like an invasion or a threat, not a lawful petition for a redress of a grievance. They don’t even have a coherent list of demands, it’s just Woodstock revisited.

  9. I think that there’s a difference between the Occupy Wall Street protesters, because they were camped out on private property, and the various occupiers who were camped out on public property. If they aren’t violating someone else’s rights, such as blocking access to work, or, to use an extreme example, if they were attempting to camp out in the middle of the road, to block traffic, then it seems to me that they have a right to assemble peaceably.

    The Occupiers in Philly were on public property, on Dilworth Plaza, adjacent to City Hall. While I’d agree that their “demands” weren’t really a petition to the government to redress grievances, given that all they had was an inchoate bellow, wreathed in the scent of urine, body odor and marijuana smoke, it seems to me that they do have the right to be there to protest. If one of them happens to get sick from being lice infested or filthy, well hey, that’s his right, too.

  10. Heard on a Baltimore radio station that Occupy Baltimore has asked for an extension of their permit until April. Baltimore said no, they had already permitted the space to other groups for the Holidays. The space is in-between the two buildings of Harbor Place called McKeldin Square after a former Mayor and Gov. The existing permit is over in a day or two and we’ll see what happens.

  11. There you go again, Editor. In your zeal to liberally employ the full value of rights to your fellow Americans, you overlook the repercussions of too much latitude. The right to petition the government for redress of grievances in no way obligates either We the People, nor the Government itself to support the effort with either taxpayers money, logistics, sanitation or even police protection (over and above that protection due to even people NOT protesting).

    You made the same mistake in your attempt to administer broad based Free Speech on your other site. Neither we, the taxpayers, nor you the owner of the site are obliged to support anything someone else does. The government and only the government is prohibited from stoping assembly and free speech, you and I are not. Yet that very government finds no problem in stoping free speech and free expression of religion every single day in our schools and public places. That’s because we have been conditioned to accept the unacceptable as a means of showing our Constitutional support.

    Those who use free speech to harm others (the song played for Backman, the Black Panthers etc) and those who use the right to assemble to harm others ( OWS, KKK, American Nazi Party) are NOT representative of Liberty. They are using the very concept of Liberty to harm those who fight for that concept. IOW, the squeeky wheel gets the oil, and we pay for it. It’s all part of the multicultural/political correctness infecting America.

    We can’t have it both ways: freedom without resposability and and society without mutual respect. Yes, they have a right to protest, but they have no right to expect me to pay for their protest, be inconvenienced by it or for their protest to cost me my job, my income or my business.

  12. One more thing Editor. You stated : “The Occupiers in Philly were on public property, on Dilworth Plaza, adjacent to City Hall.”

    Correct, public property. That means it belongs to me, to you, to Hitchcock and to Wagonwheel just as much as it does to the occupiers. They have no pre-emptive right to “occupy” our property nor to deny us (by virtue of said occupation) access to said property. As a matter of fact, I’d be within the realm of logic to put forth the fact that we’ve been the ones over the years who provided said property with our tax dollars, to a much greater extent than the vast majority of the occupiers and therefore, we have more of a right to use that property than they.

    Release the hounds, I want OUR property back!

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