6:00 PM - June 13, 2020
6:00 PM - June 13, 2020

Protesters stand outside Mayor Jim Kenney’s home in Old City

A rally and march through Philadephia was held Saturday to encourage city leadership to put city services for black, brown, and working class communities above funding for the Philadelphia Police Department. Tamar Wilson of the Socialist Alternative speaks to the group from the back of a pickup truck near 3rd and Race Streets, the vicinity of the mayor’s home.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
A rally and march through Philadephia was held Saturday to encourage city leadership to put city services for black, brown, and working class communities above funding for the Philadelphia Police Department. Tamar Wilson of the Socialist Alternative speaks to the group from the back of a pickup truck near 3rd and Race Streets, the vicinity of the mayor’s home.

Hundreds of protesters stood outside Mayor Jim Kenney’s home on Saturday evening, calling for him to cut more funding from the police department budget.

After marching from North Broad Street to Old City, the protest ended at 3rd and Race Streets, where Kenney lives in an apartment building.

The Black Lives Matter movement, one protester said through a megaphone, as others cheered, is “not just about police brutality” but about an entire “guilty system."

Oona Goodin-Smith, Juliana Reyes

5:27 PM - June 13, 2020
5:27 PM - June 13, 2020

‘Defund the police’ demonstrators march through Center City

After gathering in North Broad Street, hundreds of protesters marched south Saturday, passing City Hall and continuing onto Market Street.

While the protest was organized to call for defunding the police, demonstrators also held signs calling for more school funding, protection for transgender people, and other causes.

Groups of marchers held banners representing unions and immigrants’ rights groups. They chanted sayings such as “no justice, no peace” as they marched.

They also chanted the name of Dominique Fells, a black transgender woman whose dismembered body was pulled from the Schuylkill River this week.

As the group passed City Hall, police officers stood behind barricades in front of the Municipal Services Building, where a statue of former Mayor and Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo was removed last week.

When the demonstrators reached Old City, they marched past people enjoying the first weekend of outdoor dining at restaurants since the COVID-19 shutdown.

Juliana Feliciano Reyes, Oona Goodin-Smith

4:10 PM - June 13, 2020
4:10 PM - June 13, 2020

South Philly residents protect Christopher Columbus statue

About 50 people, all white and mostly men — at least one carrying a rifle and some others with baseball bats or golf clubs — milled around a statue of Christopher Columbus in South Philadelphia’s Marconi Plaza on Saturday afternoon.

The goal, said Thomas Easterday, 50: “Protecting the statue from these rioters who want to take it down.”

He and others indicated their presence was as much to ward off any vandals as to send a message to Mayor Jim Kenney that removing the statue in the middle of the night, as he did the statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo, would not be permitted.

Calls to remove statues of Columbus in Philadelphia and other cities are not yet, but have been renewed amid protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Camden removed a statue on Thursday, and Wilmington officials announced Friday they would remove a Columbus statue.

Those present, South Philadelphia residents or natives, said they considered Columbus an emblem of their heritage, and any attempt to erase him a “hate crime."

”It would be over my dead body before they got to this statue," said Anthony Ruggiero, 41, wearing an Italia jersey. “This is a part of history.”

Draped in an Italian flag, Joseph Pungitore, 38, said he lives nearby and has been frequently checking on the statue in light of the push to remove monuments connected to histories of oppression. He planned to stick around until he has to go to work Monday if necessary. His son stood nearby, leaning on a baseball bat, but Pungitore clarified: “I’m standing for peace.”

Samantha Melamed

3:49 PM - June 13, 2020
3:49 PM - June 13, 2020

‘Defund the police’ protest draws hundreds to future Philly police headquarters

Protesters gather for a march calling to defund the police at Broad and Callowhill Streets in Philadelphia on Saturday.
ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Protesters gather for a march calling to defund the police at Broad and Callowhill Streets in Philadelphia on Saturday.

Hundreds of protesters filled three blocks of North Broad Street on Saturday afternoon for a rally calling for defunding the city’s Police Department.

The group gathered in front of the future Philadelphia police headquarters at 400 N. Broad St., The Inquirer’s former building.

Demonstrators are calling for “removing millions from the police budget,” according to the event’s Facebook page. Mayor Jim Kenney had proposed a $19 million increase to the police department budget in the coming fiscal year, while planning cuts to other city departments and services due to the financial impact of COVID-19.

Kenney said this week that he would eliminate the planned increase to the Police Department budget in response to demands from protesters and City Council, which must approve a budget this month for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

“Mayor Kenney ran on a platform of ending stop and frisk and police brutality. Instead he increased the police budget by $120 million,” Liz Gardiner, a librarian, told the crowd gathered Saturday. “Kenney’s backhanded investments in the police … have not made us safer.”

Juliana Feliciano Reyes, Laura McCrystal

3:01 PM - June 13, 2020
3:01 PM - June 13, 2020

Interstate 676 closes amid protests

Philadelphia officials announced that Interstate 676 through Philadelphia would close on Saturday due to protest activity.

The highway is closed between Interstates 76 and 95, officials announced.

A protest march is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. at 400 N. Broad St., the future site of the Philadelphia police headquarters. Organizers of that demonstration are calling for the city to defund the police.

Laura McCrystal

1:25 PM - June 13, 2020
1:25 PM - June 13, 2020

Philly shuts down Center City roads amid Saturday protests

Philadelphia officials announced that roads would be closed Saturday in a portion of Center City, as several protests were underway or expected to begin.

A section of Center City, from 5th to 18th and Walnut to Vine Streets, is shut down.

The city announced that residents who live in that area and essential workers, including hospital workers, can still enter by showing identification.

SEPTA service would continue running, officials said. It was not clear when the road closures would be lifted.

Laura McCrystal

12:22 PM - June 13, 2020
12:22 PM - June 13, 2020

Hundreds of protesters gather at MOVE bombing site

Hundreds of protesters gathered Saturday afternoon at the site of the MOVE bombing in Cobbs Creek to call for defunding the police.

The 1985 bombing left 11 people dead, including five children, and burned down 61 homes, leaving the block in ruins for decades.

As protesters gathered, Robert Ford, 74, and his son Roger, 44, stood outside their home on Osage Street, near properties only recently rebuilt from the damage of 1985.

“It’s about time" for the system to change, Robert Ford said.

Protesters stood and read a play-by-play of the police actions against the MOVE group, which combined back-to-nature and revolutionary black liberation philosophies, and read the names of those who died in the bombing.

Roger Ford, who was 9 years old when police bombed his block, said he has lived with the trauma for decades.

“This is necessary,” he said of the protests. “Anyone who lives in this melting pot of a country and finds these actions appalling needs to stand up and speak out.”

Speakers said that apologies for the MOVE bombing without action are meaningless; former Mayor W. Wilson Goode Sr. recently called for an official city apology.

“The system is broken from end to end," said Mike Africa Jr., whose parents Mike and Debbie Africa spent 40 years in prison after they were among nine MOVE members convicted in the death of a police officer after a 1978 standoff. “I know people think there is a way to work through this system. I’m here to say as a black man, as a MOVE member … if you can’t get justice after rebelling for 400 years, you ain’t gonna get justice from these people.”

Samantha Melamed

10:22 AM - June 13, 2020
10:22 AM - June 13, 2020

Children’s March for Justice in Queen Village draws 200

About 200 kids, parents and teachers marched through Philadelphia’s Queen Village neighborhood Saturday in the Children’s March for Justice.

They chanted “Black Lives Matter” and held signs with sayings such as “be friends with everyone” and “celebrate our differences" as they marched down South Street. The event was organized by parents and school leaders from a few South Philadelphia elementary schools.

The march ended at Jefferson Square Park, where organizers read Langston Hughes’ I Dream A World poem.

Natalie St. Louis, principal at George W. Nebinger School, said the goal was to empower children to use their voices and be heard.

“This was a way for them to literally put action to words,” she said.

Anna Orso

10:20 AM - June 13, 2020
10:20 AM - June 13, 2020

March organized by kids in Lower Merion

Two 7-year-old boys who just finished first grade in Lower Merion organized a march Saturday morning in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The group marched from Penn Wynne Library to Penn Wynne Elementary School and knelt on the lawn outside the school for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time that a police officer in Minneapolis knelt on George Floyd’s neck.

Children took turns walking up to the megaphone. Harper Davis, one of the children who organized the march, said "it’s not fair that police killed George Floyd because his skin was brown.” Davis organized the march with his classmate Jackson Ziemba.

Abraham Gutman

10:00 AM - June 13, 2020
10:00 AM - June 13, 2020

No curfew planned in Philly for Saturday protests

In anticipation of large protests on Saturday in Philadelphia, the city will activate its emergency operations center but is not planning to impose a curfew or a general shutdown of Center City traffic.

The emergency operations center will be activated from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. to assist with public safety, the Center City District announced on Friday.

Motorists should expect rolling street closures as demonstrators move through city.

— Robert Moran