Philadelphia Democratic Mayor James Kenney says his city-wide ban on large events and gatherings through February 2021 does not apply to protests.
"The city's office of special events will not accept, review, process or approve applications, issue permits or enter into agreements for special events or public gatherings of 50 people or more on public property through the end of February. The moratorium will apply to special events and public gatherings, including but not limited to festivals, parades, concerts, carnivals, fairs and flea markets," Kenney said during a coronavirus video update on Tuesday.
"In addition, permit applications for residential block permits will not be accepted until further notice. The timeline when such activities may resume will be communicated as soon as possible. To be clear, this hold on large public events does not, does not apply to demonstrations and First Amendment protected activities," he added.
Just the News reached out to the mayor's office to learn whether the city will issue formal permits for protests or demonstrations on municipal property during the large-event ban. The office did not respond before publication.
There have been many Black Lives Matter protests taking place in cities across the U.S. during the pandemic since the May 25 death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police. Some demonstrations have resulted in destructive protests marked by looting, vandalism and removal of statues from public grounds.
According to local media reports, Kenney recently waived "all protest-related code violations that were issued over the last month of protests in Philadelphia against systemic racial injustice."
“My decision to waive these violations is not a statement on the validity of the individual citations,” Kenney said in a statement.
“Rather, it is a recognition of the core concerns that caused thousands to demonstrate on the streets of Philadelphia. In waiving these notices, I recognize that those issues are vitally important, that the pain of those marching is very real, and that their message – Black lives matter – needs to be heard every day until systemic racism is fully eradicated from this city and nation.”