Will Protesters at Philly DNC Be Heard From City-Permitted ‘Demonstration Zones'?

If a protest happens in a park, and nobody can hear it, did it really happen?

That's what some people may be asking after the Democratic National Convention comes to town next month at the Wells Fargo Center.

City officials released a map of the "demonstration zones" where protesters will be permitted inside FDR Park, which often has been characterized as across the street from the arena where delegates will pick the Democratic nominee for president July 27.

But almost three football fields end-to-end could fit in the distance between the edge of the park on South Broad Street where the protest zones end and the north entrance to the Wells Fargo Center.

The distance between the edge of FDR Park, where protesters will be permitted, and the north side of the Wells Fargo Center, where the DNC will be held, July 25-28.

A city spokeswoman confirmed Thursday that South Broad Street, a nine-lane thoroughfare with a tree-lined median, will be closed to protesters for the stretch separating the arena and the park.

Pro-Bernie Sanders activists said following a meeting Wednesday between dozens of city officials and protest leaders that Philadelphia appears to be making every effort to accommodate protests.

Among the provisions provided by the city are misting and First Aid tents at the park.

But at least one activist is now contemplating whether demonstrations at FDR Park, particularly when the convention is in full-swing by mid-week, will be as effective as potentially more visible demonstrations in Center City across the City Hall.

A group called Black Men for Bernie will protest July 27 and July 28 from 2 to 7 p.m. It is now expected that the presidential nominee will be chosen one of those two days.

In related news, commercial vehicles weighing more than five tons will not be allowed to travel on Interstate 95 between exits 13 and 22 the week of the convention. 

"The rerouting of commercial vehicles off I-95 is associated with the security for the Democratic National Convention," PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said in a release Thursday. "We urge commercial drivers, if possible, to travel on interstate highways outside the Philadelphia region during the week of the convention to avoid being diverted off I-95."

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