Thousands gather in Philadelphia to protest police brutality, Center City streets closed

Annie McCormick Image
Sunday, June 7, 2020
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Protesters gathered outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art before making their way to City Hall and back to rally against police brutality following the death of George Floyd.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Protesters gathered outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art before making their way to City Hall and back to rally against police brutality following the death of George Floyd.

The demonstration at the Rocky steps began at noon Saturday with around 2,500 protesters chanting, "No justice, no peace!"

Chopper 6 over the scene showed thousands on the steps of the art museum and the Ben Franklin Parkway.

The protesters then made their way along the parkway.

They walked to City Hall.

A major police presence, as well as the National Guard, was set up around the MSB Building as the protest reached the area.

Some of the protesters then returned the art museum area as others remained by City Hall.

There were also huge crowds of people from all races and ages outside the African American museum this afternoon. Many were members of the nine Black greek-lettered sororities and fraternities, known as the "Divine Nine."

Former Philadelphia Eagles' safety Malcolm Jenkins was also in attendance Saturday. He spoke to the crowd addressing the need for more funding for the African American museum, and about making cities safe.

People of all races and ages were in the crowd including nine-year-old Fatimah Muhammad who had a message for the adults who turned last weekend's protest violent.

"My message is to keep calm but still protest," said Muhammad. "Thank you for like our rights and protesting for our rights because I know that back in the day we didn't have such a right as we have now. So I want to say thank you."

In preparation for the large gatherings, the city of Philadelphia announced the following street closures:

TRAFFIC BOX: Starting at 11 a.m., vehicular traffic will be prohibited from Callowhill Street to South Street from the Delaware River to Schuylkill River in Center City.

Residents who live within the announced traffic grid are able to travel as is anyone providing or seeking essential services, such as medical or public safety assistance.

I-676 CLOSURE: I-676 will be closed in both directions from I-95 to I-76 starting at 11 a.m.

PARKWAY CLOSURE: The Benjamin Franklin Parkway will be closed to vehicular traffic starting at 5 a.m. from 22nd Street to the Art Museum.

BEN FRANKLIN BRIDGE: Beginning at 10 a.m. today (6/6/20), all westbound Benjamin Franklin Brdige traffic will be diverted to 95 N/S until further notice. There will be no access to I-676, Vine St. Local, 5th or 8th St. Eastbound lanes and the pedestrian walkway will expected to remain open at this time.

SEPTA: Due to demonstration activity in the area of Center City and the Art Museum, SEPTA expects bus routes to be temporarily detoured as streets are closed. Check for affected bus routes. The Broad Street Line and Market Frankford Lines will continue to run on their normal schedule (except for stations closed due to COVID-19).

PATCO will run a normal schedule.

CURFEW: The citywide curfew in Philadelphia began at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 6 and will continue until 6 a.m. Sunday, June 7. During this time, city officials say residents can leave their homes in order to work at essential businesses, to seek medical attention, and receive public safety assistance. Grocery stores, restaurants, and pharmacies may, at their discretion, choose to remain open after 8 p.m. for delivery services only.