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.
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.
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.
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.