Tight security, no road closures for Rally for Peace at Point State Park
Security will be tight at Friday’s rally for peace at Point State Park in Downtown Pittsburgh, though no road closures are expected, officials said.
The rally, set to start at noon, will begin with a minute of silence for the victims of the Oct. 27 shooting at Squirrel Hill’s Tree of Life Congregation.
City officials, who have declined to identify the speakers for security and privacy reasons, said the event will include remarks about those killed and injured and their families. Members of the Jewish community and children will participate.
“We’re working to make sure there’s a broad sector of the community that comes together,” said Dan Gilman, Mayor Bill Peduto’s chief of staff. “This is really a unity rally focused on compassion and peace and love. We’re working with different aspects of the community, people of all ages, of all backgrounds and obviously very closely with the three (Jewish) congregations that were directly impacted by the shooting.”
Pittsburgh authorities, park rangers and other law enforcement agencies will attend, according to Public Safety spokesman Chris Togneri.
Officers will be stationed at security checks at park entrances, Togneri said, and bags will be subject to search. Alcohol, weapons and drones are prohibited, among other items.
Temperatures will be chilly – in the mid-40s – and rain is in the forecast. The rally will go on rain or shine, he said.
The event will last about an hour and 20 minutes, city officials have said. Councilman Corey O’Connor alluded to “special guests” who could be in attendance among the other elected officials and dignitaries.
“One was recently here, and the other one’s from here is what I’ve been told,” O’Connor said Wednesday.
Gilman said the city is working with “a number of people” who have expressed interest in attending, but he said their identities would not be released until the event starts.
Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich responded to a question about celebrity security details by saying city police are “working with individuals that are requiring special assistance.”
Peduto asked that those around the world hold a moment of silence at noon Eastern Standard Time.
“It will recognize the victims first,” Peduto said. “It will recognize the Jewish community. It will recognize our country, our city, what makes us special, and pull together for a prayer in the end that hopefully will leave people feeling a little bit better than when they got there. I think the people in Pittsburgh and beyond will take great pride how we can gather together for this.”
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.