Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter might not understand why people would want to protest Pope Francis during his visit to Philadelphia in late September but he said that if groups want to demonstrate that the city will work with them to make it happen.
"I am not aware, at the moment, of requests for a designated area for protests," said Nutter in response to a question by NBC10’s Drew Smith about possible protests.
"No one has contacted me, I’m not aware that the team has been contacted about protesters," said Nutter. "...This is the United States of America, somebody is probably protesting somewhere about something."
People often don’t notify the city of planned demonstrations, said Nutter, adding some groups could contact the city closer to the event to ask to protest in specific areas on Sept. 26 and 27.
"They might want to be in a particular place, we would have to get into permits – depending on where it is they may not be able to be at that spot," said Nutter. "Depending on where they are in terms of secure perimeter."
Nutter didn’t reveal details about how the city will handle groups that try to exercise their First Amendment rights without first getting a permit during the World Meeting of Families.
"I’m not sure what you would protest Pope Francis about but it’s a free country," said Nutter.
Nutter also made a joke about possible protests.
"I was thinking about sending them to your house," joked Nutter in response to Smith’s question. "We’ve made special provisions... People are pretty excited about that and we’ve already given them a permit."