Occupy Philadelphia brings more than 1,000 protesters

Oct. 8: A quote from Margaret Mead, about making a difference, on a sign outside Independence Hall sums up the hopes that are driving the Occupy Philadelphia rally. The marchers covered eight blocks from City Hall to the historic area.
Oct. 8: A quote from Margaret Mead, about making a difference, on a sign outside Independence Hall sums up the hopes that are driving the Occupy Philadelphia rally. The marchers covered eight blocks from City Hall to the historic area. (ALEX BRANDON / Associated Press)
Posted: October 09, 2011

To understand why more than 1,000 protesters took to the streets Saturday in the third day of Occupy Philadelphia, look no further than Goldie Petkov, a 92-year-old Center City resident.

Bringing up the rear of the eight-block march from City Hall to Independence Hall, Petkov had a line of police cars behind her and a sea of marchers in front.

"They should have been marching months ago," she said, showing no signs of fatigue.

"Unemployment is overwhelming," the petite retiree said, "and they're spending all this money on wars instead of building bridges, schools, and positive things."

Around her, people chanted: "We got sold out! Banks got bailed out!" and "This is what democracy looks like!"

They took their anger and angst about the future of the country to the doorstep of where it all began.

As tourists took videos and photos of the rally with their cellphones, protesters of all stripes formed a circle and took turns voicing their complaints. For more than half an hour, they chanted in call and response - covering everything from the cost of health care to gay marriage, the wealth divide, and unemployment for the young and old.

One protester quoted Benjamin Franklin, while another recited a passage from the Constitution.

While tilting young, the crowd included everyone from avowed socialists to military families like the Dycks.

Katey Dyck, 31, pushed a stroller with her daughter and son.

Her husband, Scott Dyck, 37, a personal trainer and former member of the Army National Guard who served for a year in Iraq, carried a sign that said: "I'm here because I prefer an America that bails out homeless veterans and lets billionaires fend for themselves."

"I'm really tired of the tea party being the only ones to get airplay," Katey Dyck said. "We love our country, too, and as an Army family, we feel really irritated by that."

Sean Monahan, 24, a Temple University graduate student in political science, had been to the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York last month and thought the Philadelphia protests were drawing a more diverse group.

Carrying a huge American flag like the one made by Betsy Ross, Monahan said the movement was gaining broader attention.

"More people know about and feel a desire to get involved," he said.

Susan and Jonathan Novack came in from Boothwyn for the march. Susan, 65, is a retired librarian, while Jonathan, 63, is a software design consultant who lost his corporate job two years ago.

As he struggles to find full-time work, the couple have seen their living standard decline. "There is a class war," Jonathan said, "and the rich won."


Contact staff writer Jennifer Lin at 215-854-5659, jlin@phillynews.com, or @j_linq on Twitter.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|