Four pro-Bernie Sanders rallies, with estimated attendance of 38,000 activists, have been approved for public demonstrations during the Democratic National Convention in July, the city said Thursday.
The four rallies, given permits Wednesday night, bring the total to five for approved rallies and marches during what is expected to be a bustling week of political activity in Center City and South Philadelphia. The convention officially runs July 25-28, but two of the five approved rallies and marches of more than 7,000 activists will be held July 24 -- the day more than 4,000 delegates arrive from across the country.
NBC10 first reported Wednesday that an anti-fracking, clean energy group called Food & Water Watch was the first to receive a city permit for public demonstration. A group organizer said more than 5,000 activists are expected July 24 at a march from City Hall to Independence Mall.
For the largest of the four pro-Sanders rallies approved, more than 30,000 people are expected to attend weeklong demonstrations called “March for Bernie at DNC,” which will be held at FDR Park in South Philadelphia. It’s within earshot of where conventioneers will gather at the Wells Fargo Center to nominate their party’s presidential nominee.
The rally has been approved for five straight days, starting July 24 and ending July 28. The permit from the city also allows activists to gather each day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The “public assemblage,” as the city technically describes demonstrations, could evolve from rally into protest depending on what happens during delegate voting inside the convention.
Unlike the Food & Water Watch rally, which has a "sponsoring organization" identified by the city, three of the four pro-Sanders demonstrations have no group named, including the FDR Park demonstration..
Their permits were submitted by individuals, and the city would not identify them, a spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Kenney said.
She cited personal privacy concerns for the applicants.
The fourth pro-Sanders demonstration approved Wednesday has a sponsoring organization identified.
A group called Black Men for Bernie has been approved to hold a “We the People Restoration Rally” at Thomas Paine Plaza across from City Hall on July 27-28. They will be allowed to gather from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The purpose of the rally is “to address economic inequality, human rights, poverty, criminal justice reform and lack of ownership,” according to the city’s permit approval document.
A message left for the group was not returned.