Big Crowds on South Street Top Violent Weekend
Police shut down an 11 block stretch of South Street late Saturday night in response to a large gathering of teens. News sources have described it as a “violent mob” and “unruly crowds,” but no one has yet labeled the happenings by that oh-so loaded term that rhymes with “slash blob.” Except, as Action News did, to report that police “are not calling this latest incident a flash mob.”
Whatever you want to call it, it sounds like things got pretty crazy. The Inquirer reported as many as 20,000 people out on South Street, spilling up Broad.
Mounted state police came to help break up the crowds, and SEPTA sent extra buses to help take people away from the area since this all went down after midnight, after the subway had already closed.
The crowds either were or were not related to the “Philly Greek Weekend,” which sounds like a big pool party held in lieu of the Greek Picnic. About 900 people signed up to come hang out in Philadelphia, but were denied access to a Yeardon swimming pool and discouraged from congregating at Neshaminy Park.
What else is left to do but descend on South Street en masse? However, Greek Weekend organizer Cory Johnson told the Inquirer that people from the event weren’t involved in the South Street gathering.
Johnson said he told people who signed up for Philly Greek Weekend “not to go down to South Street because we don’t want them to be involved with any of the negative activity that goes on down there.”
The police also said there was nothing Greek about Saturday night’s crowds either, so we’re not sure why we’re even talking about it.
“The problems we have had nothing to do with the Greek Picnic events, and they never have,” [Police Spokesman Lt. Frank] Vanore said. “The problem we have is that kids just kind of congregate on that night.”
A crowd of 20,000 has a way of drawing the eye but though there were reports of fights, assaults and robberies, only 15 arrests were made, for offenses like disorderly conduct and underage drinking. By comparison, other violent acts around the city this weekend had more tragic consequences.
Three people were stabbed outside a Hispanic festival Sunday night in Old City, and two teenagers were shot to death in separate incidents, one in West Philly, one in South Philly.
Think positive thoughts, Philadelphia.