The simple story is this: Yesterday, for about an hour or so, the I-676 ramp at Vine street was blocked by a 13-year-old boy, a college student, a minister and the co-proprietor of a popular taquería (which won “Best of Philadelphia” accolades in 2011 and 2012), all of them literally and figuratively united in their call for a freeze on deportations.
On the sidelines (streets, median and sidewalks) supporters from Juntos, Make the Road PA, Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition and just ordinary folks gathered to chant in English and Spanish; media scrambled to get close enough to take photos of the protestors linked arm-to-arm by reinforced tubing; and law enforcement personnel from a number of different units, including a counter-terrorism squad, figured out what to do (and how to block the sight of what was happening from all those without the privilege of press credentials).
After issuing three warnings in English and Spanish, police cut through each connector tube with a Dremel saw, cuffed the protestors one-by-one, loaded them into a police van and took them to the 9th Police District where they were cited for obstruction and released three hours later.
When Lluli (pronounced Yoo-lee) Pilar — the co-proprietor of the original award-winning Taquitos de Puebla on 9th Street which was shuttered two months ago — was cuffed and loaded into the police van, her 6-year-old daughter Fernanda burst into tears. It was impossible to watch the inconsolable child and not realize that this was heartbreakingly similar to scenes repeated everyday — when ICE agents cuff and remove undocumented immigrant mothers and fathers in front of their U.S. citizen children — and was exactly what the four people blocking the street were protesting. Read more »