The Occupy Philadelphia movement has been demonstrating at Dilworth Plaza under a city permit since Oct. 7. That permit expires Sunday. Under a new permit granted to an Occupy splinter group Friday, activists may gather at Thomas Paine Plaza, across the street from Dilworth, but may not camp overnight.
At a general assembly Friday night, Occupiers shouted at one another, further exposing the tensions in the group.
During the assembly, a man who identified himself as an Occupy meeting facilitator implored the activists to "take a deep breath and remember that we are all out here for bigger goals."
Another Occupy activist said: "There are apparently a lot of concerns with this" plan to relocate. "That's OK."
A third, noting that "shouting over others . . . is not peaceful," called for and received a moment of silence to ease tensions.
The relocation, Nutter said, will clear the way for the long-awaited renovation of Dilworth Plaza. With the permit approved Friday, Nutter said the $50 million, two-year project will bring 1,000 jobs to the city in a rough economy.
It's a project "built by the 99 percent, for the 99 percent," Nutter said, alluding to Occupy's slogan: "We are the 99 percent."
Nutter said he told Occupy Philadelphia directly in early October about the project. He said he told the activists that once construction was scheduled, they would have to leave.
The Occupy Philadelphia Legal Collective appealed the relocation Wednesday, in a letter to the city's deputy managing director.
At some point the Occupy Philadelphia movement split into factions: Reasonable Solutions, which supports the relocation to Thomas Paine Plaza, and splintered groups that plan to stay at Dilworth Plaza.
"We should not be negotiating space," said Jennifer Starwood, 28, standing with a few other Occupiers in the grimy plaza near the donations tent. "We should be negotiating issues. If Mayor Nutter wants to have a press conference, it should about these issues," such as "corporate accountability, bank accountability, and government responsibility to us."
The plan come 5 p.m. Sunday?
One young man smirked. Starwood replied: "We're really interested what Nutter has to say to us first."
A few moments later, she added: "I really hope the police continue their stance on nonviolence."
Nutter also refused to offer specifics on what might occur.
"I'm not going to predict right now," Nutter said. "I'm hopeful that everyone will take this advice, and the promise of a 48-hour notice."
The Reasonable Solutions side of the Occupy movement said it collected more than 500 signatures in support of the limited move.
Reasonable Solutions spokesman Randy Quinn, 31, a musician and father of three, joined with some of his brethren Friday afternoon at Thomas Paine Plaza to declare victory. And something of a win-win.
The city gets to proceed with its redevelopment project. And, Quinn said, the Occupy Philadelphia activists "have shown our ability to peacefully assemble, to have our free speech heard, and to show that we are a force to be reckoned with," referring to protests centered on bank policies and student debt.
Also, "a winter occupation in a Northeast city may not be the most reasonable thing," he said.
The permit at Thomas Paine Plaza, on the east side of the Municipal Services Building, runs for one month, starting Monday, and can be renewed for 30-day periods. Demonstrators will be permitted on the plaza from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Neither tents nor overnight stays will be allowed, in response to the city's health and safety concerns that arose during the Dilworth Plaza occupation.
The city said it would also provide an electrical outlet, which Reasonable Solutions will pay for, and help the group find office space for off hours.
"This is a mature move," Quinn said. "We feel empowered by the will of the people."
Contact staff writer Kia Gregory at 215-854-2601, email@example.com, or @kiagregory on Twitter.com