Underage curfew extended, despite concerns

The city’s new curfew has been extended until the start of the school year, Mayor Michael Nutter’s office said yesterday — despite claims by some that the crackdown unfairly targets minorities.

Several community groups rallied at Broad and South streets Saturday night to protest the curfew, which applies to Center City and University City.

“To implement a law that disallows an entire population of young people to walk the streets of a particular area of the city is an attack on the legal democratic rights of those youth and the communities they come from,” said Diop Olugbala, an independent mayoral candidate with the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.

Many protesters expressed concerns that the curfew reflects racial disparity.

“It’s an attempt to create a wall to separate areas that are predominantly inhabited by white people and the wealthy sectors of Philadelphia’s population from the residents of areas like North Philly, Southwest and West Philly, which are predominantly black neighborhoods,” Olugbala said.

Despite the protest, Nutter’s spokesman Mark McDonald said the feedback has been largely positive. “This balanced approach has worked well,” he said.

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