PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Get ready for Occupy Fourth of July in the cradle of liberty.
Occupy groups from across the country are headed to Philadelphia for a national gathering on Independence Mall, seeking to unify their far-flung movement against economic inequality a half-year after police evicted protesters from encampments in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York and other cities. The event, which starts Saturday and runs through July 4, is expected to bring about 1,500 protesters for marches, speakers and camping during the city’s annual Independence Day festivities.
That has Philadelphia officials bracing for extra people during a week that already brings more than 1 million tourists to town for concerts, fireworks and other celebrations. While the Occupy Philadelphia protests last year were largely peaceful, the city eventually became frustrated with protesters’ refusal to leave a City Hall plaza and police evicted those who remained in late November; several dozen protesters were arrested in the raid’s aftermath.
Philadelphia Managing Director Rich Negrin said city officials have been preparing for the Occupy gathering, a conference being held by a spinoff group known as The 99% Working Group and other events planned by tea party activists.
“I don’t think we’ve ever been better positioned to handle large events in Philadelphia than we are today,” said Negrin, adding that city officials have been coordinating with other agencies for months. “We’re being incredibly conservative and suggesting that any one of these events could bring thousands of people.”
Read more at OfficialWire. By Patrick Walters.