Near 10pm Wednesday evening, as a dance party and protest organized in front of the Center City Philadelphia hotel that housed many of the country’s Republicans – including Speaker of the House Mr. Paul Ryan and Vice President Mr. Mike Pence – came to an end, traffic barriers were being unloaded off the bed of a truck, which was parked at the intersection of 13th & Market Street, by local police officers ahead of a visit to the City by U.S. President Mr. Donald J. Trump.
Those barriers and other blockades, according to the Mayor’s Office, will be used to prevent traffic at 13th Street from Chestnut to Market; Market Street from 11th Street to Juniper Street; and 12th Street from Chestnut to Arch Street – the area where nearly 1,000 people danced Wednesday night in support of the Affordable Care Act, which Mr. Trump has pledged to repeal and replace, won’t be open for use beginning at 8am Thursday.
Philadelphia police officers block portions of Market Street, that which is in front of the Loews Hotel, on Wednesday evening during a protest held ahead of U.S. President Trump’s visit. Photo Credit: C. Norris – ©2017
This fact, a source told me, has caused the Pennsylvania American Civil Liberties Union to spring into action due to protesters being regulated to a location which is out of sight and sound of President Trump and his colleagues, none of whom received a warm welcome from the citizens of a pro-Democrat town.
Given past occurrences – like when the Executive Director of the New York American Civil Liberties Union testified, and filed a lawsuit, ahead of the 2004 Republican National Convention and expressed concerned about the establishing of no-protest zones, which would prevent “persons from participating in lawful public demonstrations within sight and sound of the object of such demonstration” – it isn’t farfetched to believe the ACLU PA will challenge the logistics.
According to a communication from the Mayor’s Office released Tuesday evening, it’s the Secret Service, not local government, that is “establishing a secure perimeter that will limit pedestrian access” to the streets. Additionally, the City said the public should expect rolling road closures during dignitary movement.
Several protests, including one where it’s said that Black Lives Matter will stand with several socialist groups at 4pm, are scheduled on Thursday beginning as early as 11am, dealing with issues ranging from disclosure – those who are demanding that President Trump release his taxes – to healthcare and immigration. The City confirmed in writing that they received an application for a demonstration scheduled for the 26th of January; the expected attendance is 3,000. It’s likely that traffic in Center City Philadelphia won’t resume its normal flow until 6pm.
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Photo courtesy of the author.