The Philadelphia Police will be very busy in the coming weekend with two “big events” happening- the so-called women’s march on Saturday and the Eagles NFC Championship game on Sunday. The events are also courting some controversies.
Some estimates put last year’s women’s march attendance at more than 50,000 people, and there are those who are saying more participants could be expected this year. Deputy Police Commissioner Dennis Wilson says they will be as ready this year, and will not institute many changes in their security preparations, except that they will be adding bike racks to line the streets with limited entrance points for marchers.
The authorities are quick to clarify as well that reports that officers will be randomly searching attendees at the women’s march are inaccurate.
Wilson says police “are not frisking people” and “are not infringing on anyone’s First Amendment rights in any way.”
Some exaggerated and misleading reports came from activists on Friday who posted on social media that the police were going to stop and frisk the attendees at Saturday’s planned march.
Streets from 18th to 25th along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will be blocked and there will be limited entry points. Wilson stressed that the only screenings will be visual. Bags won’t be searched as well.
Security will also be beefed up for the Sunday sporting event. Officials have identified hot spots for celebrations throughout the city.
Wilson promised extra officers to be on duty, while more would be on-call if needed. The authorities are also requesting business establishments and residents near the hot spots to make sure that their security cameras on, in case the police would need certain relevant footage. They are also asking that all trash cans, flower pots or things of such nature be kept inside instead as they may be used for illegal or dangerous activities by potential trouble-makers.