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Photo: Maritza Zuluaga/ AL DIA News
Photo: Maritza Zuluaga/ AL DIA News

Demonstrators at Philly’s Municipal Services Building demand more cuts to the police budget

As City Council prepares to vote on the Philadelphia budget this week, protestors gathered for a sit-in at the municipal services building.

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Protests continued in Philadelphia for the fifth consecutive week over the murder of George Floyd and the police brutality that exists nationwide. 

On June 23, two days before Philadelphia City Council votes on the fiscal budget for 2020-2021, two dozen activists tried to occupy the Municipal Services Building with demands to further reduce the law enforcement budget.

Reclaim Philadelphia, the group that organized the sit-in, entered at 3 p.m. with a banner that read: “Defund the Police.” 

The activists are asking Mayor Jim Kenney to do more- way more than his proposed law enforcement cut. They are asking for an additional cut of $120 million, 

That was not the only protest in Philadelphia however, a protest march also began in South Philadelphia, and marched up through Broad Street to City Hall.

The street was filled with both pedestrians and bikers listening to an activist speak about the systemic injustices and police brutality. “When have you ever felt safe when a cop said ‘hi’ to you?” said one activist speaking over a megaphone. 

These protests that have been going on for weeks are demanding change in a system that is historically racist. These demands have been somewhat met, but ultimately modified.

The city’s fiscal year closes at the end of June, which is right around the corner, if not already here. So city officials are making last minute decisions, modifying the budget, and addressing the economic bruises that COVID-19 brought. Some of the changes that were brought on in the last two weeks were requests from City Council in an open letter, and Mayor Kenney quickly supported the cutbacks on law enforcement.

City Council is set to vote on the final budget on Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m.

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