About 200 residents gathered in a park tonight to mark the anniversary of the MOVE siege and fire that left 11 dead, and a federal judge ordered the city to let the vigil go on for 24 hours.
The city had initially agreed to a round-the-clock vigil, but Mayor W. Wilson Goode later limited the event to two hours, and denied the group a stage and audio system.
But U.S. District Court Judge James Giles, acting on a petition by the American Civil Liberties Union, ordered the city not to limit the vigil, and to provide police protection, toilets and electricity for a public-address and video setup.
The vigil was one of four events -- two tonight and two Tuesday -- planned to mark the first anniversary of the May 13 clash, in which police dropped a bomb on a row house occupied by members of MOVE, an armed radical group. Eleven people in the house, including five children, died in the ensuing fire, which was allowed to burn out of control, destroying 61 houses.
Meanwhile, two sisters of MOVE co-founder John Africa, who died in the battle with police, called for a peaceful candlelight observance Tuesday to mark the anniversary.
Louise James, whose son also was killed in the confrontation, said she and her sister plan an eight-block march to a site across the street from where the city is reconstructing the 61 row houses.
"This is not a demonstration," she said. "This is a memorial and we intend for it to be peaceful."
In a brief statement this afternoon, Goode said, "This is a time of healing and renewal."
Under pressure from reporters to comment, Goode sought to comply without calling much attention to the anniversary. His three-paragraph statement did not mention the planned demonstrations or a grand jury inquiry into city officials' conduct in the incident.
A citizens' commission has charged Goode and his top aides at the time of the bombing with a "reckless disregard for life and property."