PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In solidarity with the Baltimore protests, a march titled “Philly Is Baltimore” was held in Philadelphia.
Hundreds of people gathered at City Hall Thursday afternoon to voice concerns over police violence.
Protesters left Philadelphia City Hall around 6:30 p.m. and split into two groups. One group marched on Spring Garden toward the Philadelphia Police Headquarters. The other group marched through Rittenhouse Square, chanting “white silence is white consent.”
“Police in every state need to learn that they serve black people just like white people,” one marcher who would not give his name told Eyewitness News.
One marcher has been to several police brutality protests around the country, after he says he was attacked as a young man.
“I do believe and I do see a change in the way the police are dealing with us. There is a change coming, and I see it a little bit. Not as much as it should be, but hopefully my grandchildren won’t have to go through what I went through,” he said.
Eventually the two groups came together near 15th Street and Callowhill. They tried to enter the Vine Street Expressway, but police officers blocked them. Within seconds, tensions erupted and police made two arrests. Officers eventually moved, and the march continued through other parts of the city.
Earlier this afternoon, police began putting out barricades in preparation.
Traffic detours were also expected in the area.
Traffic now blocked off around west side of City Hall peaceful protest by several hundred underway pic.twitter.com/3fsWHKUu63
— Walt Hunter (@WaltHunterCBS3) April 30, 2015
“We put as many people out as necessary, without impeding upon the protest, without infringing upon anybody’s rights,” said Philadelphia Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross.
Social media and sources indicated the number of demonstrators could rise as high as 1,000 or even more.
Mayor Michael Nutter said he expects it to be a peaceful protest.
“The police civil affairs unit and other components of the Philadelphia Police Department are well prepared to protect the demonstrators and citizens who need to go about their business as well. We anticipate a peaceful gathering in which everyone can express their First Amendment rights.”
Officials say before going on duty, police were read the First Amendment by commanders, a sign that police are dedicated to preserving the right of free protest.
A demonstrator, Deandra Jefferson, says, “It’s going to be peaceful, but it’s going to be honest. We see anti-blackness in the city and in this country, and it continues to be pervasive. If it does, we need to address that because it’s not going to get any better unless we start talking about it.”
Mayor Nutter’s Chief-Of-Staff, Everett Gillison says,”We have been working to make sure everyone demonstrating will stay safe.”
The Philadelphia Court System closed down early Thursday afternoon, workers were sent home at 3:30 p.m.
CBS 3 Eyewitness News spoke with a couple who got married this afternoon at City Hall. They told Eyewitness News how the early shutdown impacted their wedding day.
“Our wedding was scheduled for 3 p.m. but because of the protest they pushed it back to 2 o’clock,” said the bride.
(Reporter:) “Upset by that?”
“I was, but it worked out,” she said.
As night fell, the group continued marching through the city. Eyewitness News spotted the crowd marching up Broad Street around 10 p.m., almost six hours after the demonstration began.
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