For the first time in more than a week, city officials say there are no plans for a citywide curfew and have also announced an end to closure to vehicles of much of central Philadelphia following large protests marred in the early days by property destruction and thefts in a number of areas.
The city also said there were no plans to close Interstate 676, which runs through the center of the city and was the scene of a confrontation last Monday when officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters who had gotten onto the highway and were trying to retreat up a steep embankment.
Police reported no major incidents as thousands demonstrated in the city Saturday, streaming from the Philadelphia Museum of Art and its famous “Rocky” steps toward City Hall, with the line of marchers stretching for several city blocks along the tree-lined Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Due to the crowds, the city said Sunday that health officials believe there is increased likelihood that participants may have been exposed to COVID-19. They were urged to monitor themselves for symptoms, try to keep a distance from others for 14 days, wear masks and get a test seven days after having been in a crowd.
“Those seeking testing do NOT need to identify that they were at a protest but instead should say they were near someone who may have had COVID-19,” city officials said.
Police said Sunday that a total of 768 people had been arrested during more than a week of protests, most for curfew and similar violations, 236 for looting/burglary and others for rioting and other offenses. One of the 27 police officers reported injured during more than a week of protests remains hospitalized.