“Vacate Dilworth Plaza and Remove All of Your Personal Belongings”

Well, it’s official-  Occupy Philly is getting the boot from Dilworth Plaza.  The city has just posted notices around City Hall stating the protesters must leave for the $50 million incoming reconstruction to begin.

While there’s no word yet on when exactly the project will start, a spokesman for Mayor Nutter was cited as saying, “‘very soon’ is a good description.”

Some demonstrators have refused to move while others have just changed locations, like Occupy 1776, which is currently at Independence Hall. Another report suggests that Bob Brady has brokered a deal for protestors to move to Thomas Paine Plaza across the street.

A recent Daily News editorial rather bluntly listed the reasons the movement should comply with notice of eviction. Responding to the article and the critique that the Dilworth renovations must start begin now, an Occupy-related website wrote the following:

The renovation of employment standards in this country must start. Huge businesses receiving billions in tax breaks and industrial corporate welfare, giving themselves bonuses, and not hiring anyone new. Let’s talk about investing in quality jobs, and make it easier for workers to organize unions to represent themselves.

Another criticism mentioned in the Daily News piece was that the movement has cost the city $500,000 in police over time, though, don’t tell that to Dom Giordano; this morning he quoted the wildly inaccurate number of $2.1 million.

All across the country cities are starting to evict Occupy protesters and the timing does seem somewhat indicative a larger organized effort to quell the movement. Mayor Jean Quen of Oakland recently admitted that she took part in a conference call regarding how to end the occupations with 18 other city leaders and it’s difficult to assume some agency or group at the Federal level wasn’t behind that meeting.

When Bloomberg evicted Occupy Wall Street, he effectively shot the starting gun for other Mayors and local governments to do the same. So is it just coincidence that numerous reports of dangerous and unhygienic conditions (I’m not arguing their validity, just the timing) were spread throughout the country immediately after?

Was this a valid reason to break up the protests, or was it just hype sublimated from Bloomberg’s own criticisms?

I won’t dare draw the connection, as it’s often impossible to discern where public opinion and fabricated news begins or ends, but it seemed that all of the sudden typically center-left media outlets were channeling Dom Giordano, using  words like “tension,”  “anarchists,” and “poop” just as the protests started to get broken up.

Local radio host Michael Smerconish even suggested that the city may be doing the movement a favor by kicking them out, as the rest of the country who may sympathize with the movement’s philosophy probably doesn’t want to associate themselves with the type of behavior that’s being described by the media. So although some of these claims may be factual, it’s interesting to consider the timing of these reports and how general change in the media’s attitude toward the movement may be shaping public opinion.

Regardless of a possible covert government initiative to end the protests, it’s clear the Occupy Philly movement will be looking much different in the near future.

Photo courtesy of Philly.com

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Chris Lipczynski

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