Protesters swarm Center City

Posted: May 02, 2014

FOR A FEW hours yesterday, the ghost of Occupy Philadelphia returned to Center City.

A passionate group of activists, some of whom camped out with Occupy two years ago, took up banners, signs and flags at 15th and Market, across from the now-closed Dilworth Plaza, to celebrate the May 1 International Workers Day, a national day of protest.

Some wore masks - including one gentleman in a painted Guy Fawkes getup who declined to comment - while others looked as if they had just come from work.

And the issues they were championing for were as eclectic as their dress: Some were chanting for a hike in the minimum wage, others were calling for the freedom of convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, and another group wanted more funding for city schools.

"Our purpose today is to galvanize public attention to these issues," said Scott Williams, who organized the protest. "We really thrive on multiple issues; these multiple aspects effect all of our lives."

About 200 people answered Williams' call to gather, with the group marching from its initial location to various city landmarks, including the District Attorney's Office and the Comcast Center, all while police looked on and helped divert traffic.

One of those marchers was Gil Jones, who traveled from Allentown to lend his voice.

Jones works part time at a restaurant to help support himself while in college. He's mad as hell that the minimum wage is so low, and he's not going to take it anymore.

"I wanted to come out and address an issue that we actually have a shot to change," he said, holding a handmade sign that read, "We can't survive on $7.25."

"People are working hard to support themselves, and they can't. . . . It's a struggle."

Another face in the crowd was former Temple University professor Anthony Monteiro, whose firing from the university earlier this year has led to backlash from students.

"I hope a unified movement comes out of this," he said. "Events like these help keep us connected, help unite us with other leftist organizations and let us get the message out."


On Twitter: @Vellastrations

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