Officials: We’re Ready for “Philly Is Baltimore” Protest

No traffic or transit detours are planned — yet — but courts will close early.

Photo | Jack Cotter

In December, Ferguson protesters interrupted traffic in much of Center City. | Jack Cotter

Philadelphia officials said today they’re ready for today’s “Philly Is Baltimore” protest at City Hall. No traffic or transit detours were planned — yet — but the city’s court system said it would close for business by mid-afternoon “out of an abundance of caution.”

Philly Police spokesperson Tanya Little said the department would staff the protest, both to protect public safety and the protesters’ right to free expression. Previous protests, she noted, have all transpired peacefully.

“We’re always prepared, and we will handle it accordingly,” she said, adding: “Everyone has a right to voice their First Amendment rights.”

She said no road closures or detours were planned, but added: “This could possibly change as the day goes on.”

Similarly, a SEPTA spokesperson said the agency would monitor the situation before deciding whether to reroute any buses today. Any changes will be posted immediately to SEPTA’s Twitter feed and website. SEPTA agents will also redirect commuters on the ground if necessary, she said.

“We’ll be monitoring the activity this afternoon,” said SEPTA’s Heather Redfern. “We’ll get that out as soon as we’re able to.”

The city’s general alert system has advised that traffic delays in Center City are possible as a result and that the police civil affairs unit has been assigned to the protest.

A call to the mayor’s office was redirected to the police department.

More on this as it develops.

Follow @JoelMMathis on Twitter.