Sixteen Antifa protesters were arrested after clashing with officers during a Blue Lives Matter march in the Center City district of Philadelphia, WPHT-TV reported.
Organizers of the left wing counterprotest recruited dozens of people to meet at city hall in opposition of the Blue Lives Matter March held by a popular group called Sports Beer & Politics II.
What were the charges?
About 75 Antifa protesters were in the area of Broad and Arch Streets by 11:30 a.m., WPHT reported. Several members of the so-called anti-fascist groups sparred with police as the protest began, according to the report. Nine people were given citations and seven were charged with disorderly conduct on Saturday.
“In spite of all the negative press towards police, we want to show our support of our men and women in blue,” Zachary Rehl, the Blue Lives Matter event organizer, said. Rehl is the son of deceased Philadelphia police officer Robert Rehl.
Blue Lives Matter organizers had called for a peaceful rally and publicly stated no violence was welcome.
What groups attended?
That didn’t stop members of the Philly Socialists, Liberation Project, Workers World Party Philadelphia, OccupyICEPHL, and many other Antifa groups showing up for the march, WPHT reported.
Members of those groups said they were marching to demand an end to police brutality, stop-and-frisk policies, and mass incarceration, the report stated.
They were heard shouting “No racist police” during the march. Police directed them out of traffic and worked to maintain order as dozens of people, some wearing masks and holding flags gathered along the streets of Center City, according to the TV station.
Organizers of the “Fascists Go Away: March Against Police Brutality” wrote on Facebook."YOU'RE NOT WELCOME HERE. Dozens of groups will meet at City Hall to demand an end to police brutality, an end to stop-and-frisk, and an end to mass incarceration. We'll tell the fascists at the Liberty Bell we don't want them in our town!”
According to the report, the group Refuse Fascism arrived at the protest with a banner that read, “The Nightmare Must End: Trump/Pence Must Go!”
Several groups that were a part of the Antifa rally made social media posts asking for help with bail.
The opposing groups marched, but did not interact with each other, according to the report.