10 arrested at Occupy protest at Comcast Center

One of the arrested is loaded into a police van. Nine Occupy Philly protesters stage a general strike Wednesday inside the Comcast Center. They were later arrested. (Sarah J. Glover / Staff Photographer)
One of the arrested is loaded into a police van. Nine Occupy Philly protesters stage a general strike Wednesday inside the Comcast Center. They were later arrested. (Sarah J. Glover / Staff Photographer)
Posted: November 02, 2011

Ten protesters were arrested during an Occupy Philly sit-in staged Wednesday afternoon at the Center City headquarters of Comcast Corp.

Several hundred people, including protesters and onlookers, watched the spectacle unfold at the Comcast Center on John F. Kennedy Boulevard. Area traffic was jammed for hours.

About 1:30 p.m., nine protesters got into the lobby and sat for about an hour before being arrested. Another demonstrator had been arrested outside earlier.

They had marched from the Occupy Philly tent city at Dilworth Plaza in solidarity with a "general strike" organized by the Occupy Oakland protest following a police crackdown last week that left an Iraq war veteran with a fractured skull.

Among those arrested as Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey watched was a woman carrying a sign identifying herself as Diane Mohney, 66, of South Philadelphia.

During the protest, about 20 other Occupy members linked arms on the 17th Street sidewalk east of the city's tallest skyscraper. They chanted slogans and sang a song about solidarity to the tune of "La Marseillaise." Dozens of supporters milled about.

One slogan was "Hey, hey, ho, ho, corporate personhood has to go."

Bri Barton, 22, of Kensington, said the incident in Oakland and the arrests at the Comcast Center call attention to whom the police are serving - "people with massive amounts of property, also known as the 1 percent."

As those arrested were taken from the building, protesters chanted, "All eyes!," directing the crowd to watch.

"Nobody here wants to get arrested," Barton said, "but sometimes that is the only action that the voiceless are left with: a political arrest."

Julia Gross, 28, an Occupy member, said the group chose the Comcast building because the company does not pay property taxes. Comcast qualified for the city's tax-abatement program for new construction.

"It's not fair that in a poor city, a big corporation can get away with that," she said.

The protest also came hours after Comcast reported its revenues rose 4.9 percent, to $14.3 billion, in the third quarter compared with the same period last year, while profits expanded by 4.7 percent, to $908 million.

Police called in three vans to take those arrested at the Comcast tower to Police Headquarters at Eighth and Race Streets for processing.

Officers used bicycles to form a cordon from an entrance to the lobby to the vans on 17th Street. Supporters cheered as those arrested were led out.

At Police Headquarters, more than a dozen Occupy Philly members gathered outside to await the release of their comrades. Officers from the police Civil Affairs Unit stood nearby.

Several women who declined to give their names said no protest actions were planned at headquarters. They were there to offer support for the 10 arrestees.

They sat on the sidewalk and placed orders for take-out.

Later in the evening, the group posted a request on Facebook for donations to post bail.

Police spokesman Lt. Ray Evers said that those who were arrested might be held overnight depending on the pace of the arrest processing.


Contact staff writer Reity O'Brien at 215-854-2917 or reobrien@philly.com

Inquirer staff writer Robert Moran contributed to this article.

|
|
|
|
|