WELL, IT'S OFFICIAL - the city and Occupy Philly are no longer BFFs.
Members of the protest movement held a news conference yesterday to rebut Mayor Nutter's recent criticisms of the lingering Dilworth Plaza encampment, as tensions between the two sides seemed to grow.
On Sunday, Nutter said conditions at the camp site were "dramatically deteriorating," along with efforts to communicate with those in the movement.
He ran through a list of public-health and safety concerns, and made it clear that he was tired of waiting for the protesters to leave the plaza, which is slated for a $50 million makeover later this month.
The band of Occupy Philly members who crowded together on a small stage about 1 p.m. yesterday said Nutter's comments were exaggerations.
"We feel the mayor's inaccuracies . . . were an intentional effort to divide and discredit our movement," said Gwen Snyder, who had to shout her remarks before a working microphone could be found.
Protesters took turns refuting problems that Nutter had cited, including unsanitary food distribution, thefts and an alleged rape of a woman over the weekend.
One member said the crimes that allegedly occurred in Occupy Philly's campsite were being unfairly magnified, considering that violent crimes occur in the city every day.
The looming Dilworth Plaza construction project was a topic, too.
Jody Dodd, a member of Occupy Philly's legal working group, said the city has ignored requests from Occupy members for specific information on other potential protest sites, including the nearby Thomas Paine Plaza.
That lack of information is one reason why some members of the movement voted Friday to stay at Dilworth Plaza indefinitely, she said.
City Managing Director Richard Negrin said last night that he had provided detailed information about Thomas Paine Plaza and other locations, including which sites would have water and electricity available for protesters.
Earlier in the day, police arrested an unidentified 39-year-old woman who said she had just arrived in town to become part of Occupy Philly.