Free tickets to pope speech snapped up; some then sold

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Free tickets to Pope Francis' speech on immigration and religious freedom at the Independence Mall were snapped up in two minutes on Tuesday, and not long after some were being sold online for hundreds of dollars apiece.

The 10,000 free tickets to the Sept. 26 event, taking place next to the Liberty Bell and in front of Independence Hall, were made available online at noon.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia said it doesn't sanction the ticket sales but can't stop them. It said it would have hoped people got the tickets to attend a historic event that's part of Francis' first visit to the United States.

Only ticketholders can attend the pope's speech. Mayor Michael Nutter said selling the speech tickets is not right and would be called "trifling" in the neighborhood where he grew up.

Free tickets also will be available Wednesday for people who want to be within a few blocks of papal events on Sept. 26 and 27 on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

The archdiocese said 10,000 tickets will be available online at 4 p.m. Wednesday for the Sept. 26 closing festival of the World Meeting of Families, which is held every three years. Another 10,000 tickets will be available at 8 p.m. Wednesday for the pope's Sept. 27 Mass, expected to draw more than 1.5 million people.

Tickets for both events will be available at on a first-come, first-served basis. People are limited to four tickets each.

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