Occupy Philadelphia welcomed some late-night visitors yesterday.
Last night, Occupy Wall Street marchers arrived in Philadelphia on their way to Washington D.C. The marchers started at Zuccotti Park in New York City on Nov. 9 on their two-week journey down the East Coast. They plan to arrive at Washington’s McPherson Square by Nov. 23. On that day, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction must decide how to reduce the nation’s deficit by at least $1.2 trillion through increases in federal taxes or cuts in federal spending, or both.
The march — labeled “Occupy the Highway” — is in protest of those who advocate for an extension of former President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for wealthier Americans, arguing that the cuts are only benefiting wealthy Americans.
The movement is walking on the shoulders of highways where it is legal to do so, as well as on local routes through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. Upon entering each district, they are escorted by the police, according to Marielle Santiago, who joined the march in Trenton, New Jersey.
They have spent nights camping or staying with people who have donated their homes and workplaces to the cause, staying in private homes, recording studios, Quaker Meeting Houses and at the camps of other Occupy movements. They are walking about 20 miles a day and hope to gain supporters along their 240-mile journey.
Yesterday, the marchers arrived at Philadelphia shortly after 9 p.m. and were greeted by members of the Occupy Philadelphia movement at Penn’s Landing. “It was kind of what we needed. We had been walking at that point since 10:30 a.m., which was about 11 or 12 hours at that point,” Santiago said. “But getting here to the actual park … we were able to do it because they gave us so much energy. There was hugs going around and kisses. We all got a bunch of necklaces. It was a great happy crowd.”
David McClintock, a member of the Occupy Philadelphia movement, was part of the medic team that met the marchers. “We went out in case they had any sore ankles or things like that. Obviously they had been walking for a long time. We were there to escort them in and make sure they didn’t get lost. We were here for any medical needs … We met them down at Penn’s Landing, and we walked them all the way back.”
Atom Jenkins, a marcher who was with the group since New York, said, “I was part of Occupy D.C. and then I went up to NYC and was there for about a week. I have been occupying since October 5 in total though. I thought [the march] would be a pretty epic symbolic action that would help gain attention and raise awareness about what’s going on. “
The group will depart from Philadelphia after a day and a half to travel to Wilmington, Delaware, the next stop on the path to Washington. “A lot of people from Philly are joining us,” Santiago said.
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