Re-open protest fizzles in the rain

The Re-Open PA protestors who wanted to circle City Hall from noon-3 on Friday had two problems, and the light rain wasn’t either of them.

Cars stopping motorcade surrounded by media, not cops. (Photo: Stu Bykofsky)

One problem was the counter protestors who got in front of the motorcade that was driving north on Broad from Oregon. The counter people stopped vehicles in the intersection of Broad and Chestnut. They stopped maybe more than 50 horn-blaring cars on Broad, but they also stopped cross traffic on Chestnut, infuriating bus passengers and people in cars.

There were ample cops around, and even more media, but traffic stopped at about 12:05 p.m. and remained stopped for about 10 minutes. I asked one cop why he was allowing the intersection to be blocked. He shrugged as if to say, “I got no orders.” I didn’t see the civil affairs squad, which usually irons out problems like this.

Once the blockade of the motorcade was removed, cars moved north to City Hall, swung around to the east where protestors ran into the second problem. They were diverted from JFK to North Broad, stopping them from circling City Hall. I asked the cop at the blockade why the traffic was being diverted. He was ordered to, he said.

Protestors’ cars diverted from City Hall. (Photo: Stu Bykofsky)

I could see cars were not permitted to turn on Arch to circle back to the Hall. I don’t know how far the cars had to go before they could turn on to 15th to return to City Hall. But if they did — cops diverted cars from 15th to JFK, making a circle of the Hall impossible.

Was it the cops’ idea, or some politician? Your guess is as good as mine. The tactic pretty much deflated the protest.

Many cars flew American flags and there were a number of banners supporting President Donald J. Trump.

A couple of Trump supporters on foot. (Photo: Stu Bykofsky)

There was no trace that I could see of the whacko white nationalist Proud Boys. Also no Nazis, no Klan, no zoroastrians (look it up).

One group that had volunteers on the street was HealthAlertPhilly.org. Leaflets handed out railed against face masks, ventilators, social distancing and vaccines, all of which “make things worse.”

Louise Francis of Center City is an actuary who wants the state to open, pronto. She doesn’t want to wait for a vaccine to be developed, because it won’t be effective.

Another Center City resident, Lynn Landis, agreed. Her main issue are the lockdown orders she regards as unconstitutional. “We have made petty tyrants out of our mayors and governors,” she said.

She also fears a Global Fascist Takeover led by corporations and national leaders, but that was more than I bargained for, so I begged off to get out of the rain.

15 thoughts on “Re-open protest fizzles in the rain”

  1. Wow, Stu, you made my glass the Half-Full version today! And I’m not being sarcastic. I’m glad to see that, at least today, the local movement (more like a bowel movement as far as I’m concerned) fizzled out, whatever the reason or cause. This isn’t a case of “Free America” from the tyrants, so much as, as you have shown, pure idiocy on the part of some people. I realize that some “just don’t get it.” Everything to them is a conspiracy. Of course most everything around here at the moment is going to hell in a handbasket, but it that’s what it takes to bring some eventual normalcy back into our lives, so be it. I don’t like what we’re going through more than anyone else, including those flouting their Constitutional right to demonstrate. But when your “right” puts my right to exist in jeopardy, you (that is, the idiots out there) lose – and I’ll make sure you lose by supporting writers like Stu who do “get it.”

      1. To which I say, courtesy of John F, Kennedy: “Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”

        But my preference is to say to the current crop of protestors: “You have the right to your opinion. And I have the right to think you’re an idiot.”

  2. Great reporting, as always, Stu. I was chuckling at the protest deflation. Let’s see now, according to the protestors, the mayors and governors whose main job is to protect the populace are petty tyrants for acting on safety? I do understand the need to save businesses and our economy. But to politicalize a pandemic? Like I’m going to go out and hobnob with unmasked idiots and make demands based on THEIR say so? Claiming constitutional rights during a unique pandemic is like saying, “I live in a California wildfire area, but I have the right to burn my garbage outside.”

  3. Bill of Rights vs Bill of Obligations

    Some of us of a certain age may remember civics class, discarded as unnecessary by the educational experts of the day. That may explain the uneducated yahoos demonstrating their right to die from Covid-19 without consideration of others in their community. We wear a mask not to protect ourselves but to protect others in the community regardless of their personal commitment.
    A Boy Scout manual released in 1953 was dedicated solely to explaining the Citizenship Badge. The Citizenship manual explained that “citizen” was another word for “member,” that every young man was a member of a town, a state, and the nation, and that membership in these bodies, just like membership in any other organization, was a two-way street — it came with both benefits and duties.

  4. Interesting the way the city allowed counter protestors to block streets, but prohibited protestors the right to travel around City Hall. Early commentary appears to applaud these actions without mentioning the uneven application of the “law” or lack there of.

    Our right to protest must always be protected by the government and treated equally with dissenting or counter protest, Allowing counter protestors to block the protestors and then using this same police powers to block the actual protestors is unequal treatment, plain and simple. Laugh, chuckle, ridicule all you like, without demanding equal treatment under the law, we will lose more of the freedoms that make this country independent.

    I respect the commentators concerns and their desire to remain safe at home but their decisions have no bearing on my rights to make informed decisions regarding my health.

    When I look at PA, we have performed 280,333 rests with a total of 57,370 positive cases or approximately 21% of the tests performed. Remember that in PA you need to have severe symptoms and a doctors approval, so nearly 80% of people with severe symptoms are negative.

    How many of the deaths in PA occurred in older care facilities, and why is the Governor and Health Official refusing to consider this factor? Why is the Wolf administration refusing to provide details on waivers to his stay at home orders?

    Perhaps I am a conspiracy theorist or maybe just a tax paying, law abiding citizen asking iimportant questions that the public deserves an honest answer for. Stop hiding behind the tragedies we already have experienced with this pandemic and promising the lie that the government wants to keep us safe, that is not possible and any intelligent person knows this.

    Stay home if you wish, I will not. I will take action to protect myself in the same manner I do daily and did daily prior to Covid.

    Politics is a career, they are experts in making deals and marketing themselves and their ideology, they are not necessarily experts in every field from economics, health, crime and business management, That goes equal for experts in any single field. Hence if you ask a health official how to stay safe in a pandemic caused by a newly discovered virus, with no cure, vaccine or information on the possible wide spread infection rates, the expert will tell you to quarantine. They are not tasked with analyzing the collateral damage or ability to recover from the collateral damage.

    Politicians have frightened us into isolation under the premise that they know best how to protect us, but that is not their sole motivation. They blame every part of this on Trump take any sentence or statement out of context and sensationalize it. They blamed a person drinking aquarium cleaner and dying on Trump. Only problem is he never told anyone to drink aquarium cleaner or self medicate. When you create this narrative, do you fear people will hold you to the same standard. The sad truth is people die every day, some tragically and some near the end of their life, I believe everyone of them deserve respect but not in the form of putting people under a lockdown order with the threat of fines and imprisonment.

  5. Perhaps if there was a coherent strategy coming from the Trump Administration, maybe more of us would be less agitated about the current situation.

  6. In no particular order of importance (1) Based on the number of vehicles I’ve been seeing on the road in the last few days (me being among them), people are fed up with the ‘stay home’ edict; (2) Why not just wear a mask over your mouth and not your nose if the purpose of a mask is to keep your breath from possibly infecting others? (3) 2,500 people have died in Pennsylvania, a state with 12.9 million people.
    That gives you a 1-in-5,160 chance of dying. Would you give up your business and freedom for a 1-in-5,160 chance to win the lottery? (4) When will peaceful demonstrations against the overreach of government turn violent? I.e., what is the boiling point of the US populace?

    1. Vince – I’m waiting for the counter protestors to hold up their banner which sez: “How many people have infected or killed today?”

      Remember my comment last month, when I said that it’s an unfortunate numbers game. And that 1 in xxxxx chance of you or one of your loved ones contracting it doesn’t seem like much of chance – until it happens, And then it becomes 1 in 1, as happened to my mother.

      1. Sorry about your mom. But it’s a non sequitur. My question remains, how much freedom are we willing to give up to prevent something that has a remote possibility of happening to us? It really is a numbers game, a game of chance. Here’s an grimly humorous example of chance in action: 12 days ago my brother-in-law put on his mask and went outside to mow his lawn. And dropped dead…dead before he hit the ground. Like I said, he was wearing his mask,

  7. HAPPY RAINY FRIDAY !!!
    What’s right, what’s not. We are ( HA ! ) guaranteed the right to assemble, protest, etc., unless of course, you’re talking about Philly. If you are not part of the team, then you don’t count. If you are radical enough, plus you have a big voting block, then we’ll make exceptions. Just don’t trash the neighborhood. TOO LATE !
    Vince, we weren’t around for the black outs, red lights, and other annoying things that were in place during WW II. Of course, all along the Atlantic, our liberty ships were being sunk, because the backscape was a well lit east coast. Contradiction? Sure, so much are you willing to sacrifice to save our collective a-@#$es ?
    Randy, I can only hope and pray that your mom is in a better place.
    Tony

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