Vincent changed his name as John Africa and all his followers and MOVE members too had added the term ‘Africa’ as their surnames. The cofounder Glassey had a home in Powelton village neighborhood of Philadelphia and made it their headquarters (Powelton Village, 1978). In a very short period, the MOVE had attained the look of a radical force campaigning against the use of technology. CNN quite often used to describe it in its news dispatches as a loose knit organization of blacks advocating the ‘back to nature’ lifestyle and preaching against technology. The ‘back to nature’ lifestyle methods of MOVE members had caused severe sanitarian problems to the neighbors who complained against their activities. Acting on the complaint, Mayor Frank Rizzo ordered a blockade of the neighborhood to get the MOVE members out of the house on August 8,
1978 but it was not successful. In the subsequent firing, between police and MOVE members, one police officer was killed and some police officers were injured. As a follow up measure, Leaphart and eight other MOVE members were arrested and sentenced to prison on murder charges. The remaining followers of Leaphart had then moved into a house in the Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia owned by a relative of one of the MOVE members (Osage Avenue, 1985, first para) and continued their activities. Moreover, the public continued to lodge complaints against them on and off.
On May 13, 1985, the day of the disaster, a major confrontation took place between the MOVE members and the Philadelphia police. The police planned to open fire, evict the radicals, and arrest them. Accordingly, they started opening fire on the MOVE home attracting return fire. But a heavy and long encounter followed between the police and the MOVE members in which the former used 10000 rounds of ammunition, tear gas and explosives to break down the heavily fortified MOVE house. As