PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Troops from the Pennsylvania National Guard were deployed throughout Philadelphia on Saturday night. It was an eerie sight on this Halloween following days of unrest and protests after the police killing of 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr.
It’s been a difficult week in Philadelphia, and on Halloween, city officials decided not to issue a curfew. Philadelphia police say the unrest that following the police-involved shooting death of Wallace Jr. has led to the arrest of 225 people. Since Monday, there have been 59 police officers treated for injuries sustained during the unrest. One officer remains hospitalized.
Authorities say 17 police vehicles have been damaged. In the past 24 hours, there were 35 incidents of looting, a total of 617 looting incidents since Monday. Twenty-five ATMs have been vandalized or burglarized.
Compared to the week we’ve had in Philadelphia it’s been a quiet Halloween. There was no curfew, no street closures and no protests on Saturday night. Around the clock coverage from the National Guard remains intact, though, throughout the city.
“I think it’s pretty concerning that they’re here,” a Philadelphia man said. “I think it’s pretty politically motivated, I’d say. I think it’s a bit intimidating, especially during this time.”
Tensions have quieted in recent days, but some visitors welcomed the reinforcement.
“I think they’re here out of precaution, and that means there’s an underlying tension. It’s not normal,” Sohum Daftary said.
Stores and buildings remain boarded up while revelers enjoy Halloween festivities.
“It does feel a little bit sketchy,” Akhil Ganti said, “but we’re in a pretty crowded space away from the protest sites, right? So I personally feel pretty safe here with all the stuff going on.”
The curfew has been lifted, but not everyone was quite sure what to expect.
“In general, I didn’t hear about any curfew tonight so I think it feels OK right now,” Sejal Menghani said.
Center City bars and restaurants are seeing residual effects from an exhaustive week.
“COVID, then the riots and all that, protesting, all that’s shaken up everything,” Bear Brown, who works at Oscar’s Tavern, said. “Nobody’s coming out so, I didn’t even know we were going open today. Thought we’d close early.”
Friends visiting for the week are dismayed at the state of the city.
“Seeing everything boarded up, seeing Wawa closed, for example, which is 24/7,” Daftary said. “I went to college here and now coming back and seeing everything just not the way it typically is, is a little bit surreal.”
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