PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Tuesday was deadline day for two homeless encampments in Philadelphia. Those staying there were supposed to pack up and move out.
Instead, demonstrators braced their positions with barricades and filed a lawsuit.
Occupiers managed to maintain their ground on the parkway, but only time will tell what happens next.
The iconic sound of Mr. Softee that normally brings joy and excitement couldn’t take away the tension on the Ben Franklin Parkway Tuesday.
Some neighbors are growing increasingly fed up with what they call an eyesore in their backyard.
The clock has been ticking and after weeks of negotiations, with no end in sight, Mayor Jim Kenney decided it was time for the encampments, both on the parkway and on Ridge Avenue, to go.
“This is public land and all people have a right to it. You can’t live on public land indefinitely without plumbing and all the amenities needed to live sanitarily,” Kenney said.
Encampment organizers have been preparing with barricades to resist any effort to remove them from the parkway.
A lawsuit filed against the city is meant to prevent any action to disperse or relocate either encampment until occupants are provided shelter that is safe, clean and separate.
“They need our help. How would you feel if it was one of your brothers or sisters or child or grandmom or your uncle? How would y’all feel if that was one of your family members out here and sleeping on a bench, sleeping under bridges,” one woman said.
The Philadelphia Housing Authority has already placed 88 people in shelters, residential treatment and other housing options. In the meantime, some that are ready for occupiers to go say the issue also lies with sanitation.
“Where is the responsibility for keeping a place that you’re occupying clean?” one man said.
The federal judge declined to sign that restraining order today. An in-person hearing is set for Thursday at 1 p.m.