Union Protest, 3 Inflatable Rats Close Down Spruce Street

Photo | Dan McQuade

Photo | Dan McQuade

A protest by scores of building trades union members closed down Spruce Street during the morning rush hour on Friday. The protesters were outside the old Parker Spruce Hotel, a 1920s-era hotel that was for decades a notorious flophouse. It’s currently being redeveloped into a “boutique” Fairfield Inn by the Wankawala Organization, which owns the hotel and managed it for four years before the purchase.

Neighbors complained in October about conditions of the worksite, with some residents of the nearby John C. Anderson apartment building saying dust was getting into air conditioning vents and making them sick. Unions have been protesting outside the building since last year; an inflatable union rat was blocking the bike lane on Spruce for several days in November. Union members moved Scabby the Rat after cyclists complained. Read more »

WATCH: Noisy Taxi Cab Protest of UberX, Lyft Snarls Center City Traffic

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With horns blaring and marchers chanting “No UberX! No Lyft!” hundreds of Philadelphia cab drivers converged on City Hall with their vehicles to demand that laws cab drivers must follow regarding insurance, licensing and training be enforced with the aforementioned ride-sharing services as well. Joining in the protest that snarled lunchtime traffic for blocks around City Hall were drivers for UberBLACK, the limousine service that uses the same sharing technology as UberX but which is regulated by the Philadelphia Parking Authority as the cabs are. Read more »

CCP Adjunct Professor, Black Lives Matter Activist Suspended After Speaking at Rally

Divya Nair via Facebook.

Divya Nair via Facebook.

Editor’s Note: The headline of this story has been updated to clarify the nature of the rally.

Last Thursday, at a rally initiated by the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee, PHL, Black Lives Matter activists and others took to the grounds of Community College of Philadelphia to protest, among other things, the presence of a Philadelphia Police Department recruiter on campus that day. The speakers at the protest included CCP adjunct English professor Divya Nair, and later that same day, Nair was suspended by the school. Read more »

Activists Hold Pope-Themed Protest Against Fracking

Anti-fracking protesters

Papal-themed environmentalist protesters near the Convention Center, site of this year’s Shale Insight conference. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

Everything in Philadelphia seems to be pope-themed this month — even the protests.

Activists dressed in homemade cassocks and mitres and held an anti-fracking demonstration near the Pennsylvania Convention Center this morning — protesting the Shale Insight conference being held today and tomorrow in Philadelphia.

“If you’re not going to shut down the conference, you might as well yell in their faces about it.” organizer Liz Arnold said outside the protest this morning. People walking in heard the message, apparently, though they were not convinced by it.

The shale industry is in a bit of a slump recently; the Inquirer reports the 69 drill rigs in Pennsylvania are operating at half of peak capacity. But energy companies want to turn Philadelphia into an energy hub by, in part, building a $2.5 billion pipeline. Read more »

Janelle Monáe and Jidenna Lead March Down Broad Street

Yesterday afternoon, music stars Janelle Monáe and Jidenna hit the streets of North Philly around Temple to lead a march to bring awareness to police brutality and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. According to NBC 10, there were around 150 protesters who “gathered near Broad and Susquehanna and marched towards the Uptown Theater on North Broad Street.”

They carried signs saying things like “Black Girl Magic,” “Black Joy” and “Black Lives Matter,” and stopped for a rousing speech that was partially caught in this tweet from the Philly Student Union:

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How Philly Police Kept the Peace at “Philly Is Baltimore”

Left, AP. Right, Joshua Scott Albert.

Left: Commissioner Charles Ramsey | AP photo. Right: A scene from Thursday’s Philly Is Baltimore protest. | Joshua Albert photo.

Well, thank God for Philadelphia Police.

I’m serious.

Yes, it’s easy to find reasons to criticize our local department, and I do it all the time. It’s also easy to watch some officers become martyrs to our streets and then give the rest of them a free pass, or something close to it. But I’m interested in doing something else today: I want to praise the Philadelphia Police Department for a bit of smart policing, done professionally, and in a fashion that has served the community very well indeed.  Read more »

WATCH: Philly Band ILL Doots Includes “Philly Is Baltimore” Footage in First Video

ILL Doots, an 8-piece, psych-funk hip-hop group out of Philly,  just released their first video. “Cubism: Outside the Box” is a direct response to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and they timed the release to the Freddie Gray protests in Baltimore. The director, Christian Sarkis Graham (who, full disclosure, has had photos featured on Ticket in the past), even re-edited the video last night to include clips from yesterday’s “Philly Is Baltimore” rally at City Hall. (The footage was actually shot by one of the MCs.)

He explains the concept behind the song as taking a “cerebral” approach to the movement, “looking inward, engaging the psychological before taking on the political.” That’s reflected in the lyrics “I’ve been spending more time reading people than I’ve been reading books / Judging how it feels, not how it looks. / Don’t let them judge you, I promise they all crooks.”

The song comes from ILL Doots’ latest album, Future Dia(NA)log. Check out the video above, and head to their site to see where you can see them in Philly over the next few months—including a free show this weekend in Drexel Park and one at MilkBoy on the 16th. A few images from the video below:



 

Philly Shows Nation How to Protest the Right Way

On Thursday, one day before prosecutors announced serious charges against six police officers in the death of Baltimore man Freddie Gray, Philadelphia was home to the “Philly is Baltimore” protest, an attempt on the part of organizers to show solidarity with the people of Baltimore and to speak out more generally about the deaths of unarmed black men who died in police custody. I was in the middle of the protest well into the night, and at its peak, I’d estimate the crowd to have topped 1,000. (You can see my photos and videos from the street here.)

People were angry. People were loud. People were screaming at the police.

There were chants like “fuck the police, fuck the police, fuck the police” and “shut the fucking city down, shut the fucking city down, shut the fucking city down,” in addition to non-profane chants of the “no justice, no peace” ilk.

And the “Philly is Baltimore” protesters did, in fact, shut down good portions of Center City, snarling traffic in the early evening hours and continuing to be the bane of motorists’ existence throughout the night.

But what the “Philly is Baltimore” protesters did not do is cause any real trouble. Read more »

Scenes From the Massive Philly Is Baltimore Protest

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Also read: “Philly Shows Nation How to Protest the Right Way.”

It was a tense night in Center City, Philadelphia, for the “Philly Is Baltimore” protest, which centered around both the death of Freddie Gray, who died earlier this month in the custody of Baltimore police, and the death of Brandon Tate-Brown, who was shot and killed in a December altercation with Philadelphia police. I arrived at City Hall around 3:30 p.m. and watched the crowd slowly grow in numbers to more than a thousand. Here are some photos, videos and observations from the protest that was, for the most part, tensely peaceful. Read more »

(Update) #PhillyIsBaltimore on Social Media

[Update 9:15 p.m.] The crowd appears to have dwindled down to about 150 people now, still marching through Center City:

[Update 8 p.m.] A brief scuffle was being reported between police and some protesters:

[Original] The #PhillyIsBaltimore protest is under way at City Hall, and we’ll highlight some of the most interesting social media we see from the event — check back, as we’ll continue to update throughout the afternoon.


Read more »

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