What started out as a small protest by a conservative political group on Saturday in Philadelphia led to an officer being punched, several arrested and numerous scuffles after those with opposing political views began a counter protest.
The initial protest, named the “We the People Rally,” was planned by the conservative political group who identified themselves as “patriots” described as “pro good cop, pro ICE, pro law and order, pro life, pro American value, pro gun and anti illegal immigration,” according to a Facebook page for the event.
Roughly 30 people showed up in support of the conservative group at a Philadelphia park outside of the Independence Visitors Center with counter protesters out numbering them ten to one.
“I kind of wonder if they were just screwing with us, that they made some event to get other people to waste their day,” Michael Bartolone, who drove from New York City to join the protesters, told the Washington Post. Adding, “Was this all a ruse on their part or were they scared off?”
Law enforcement chases counter-demonstrators during the right-wing “We The People” rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., November 17, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY #photojournalism #onassignment #ontheroad https://t.co/OuCqFrq0dB pic.twitter.com/3ChqpxGQ8O
— Jim Urquhart (@jimurquhartpixs) November 18, 2018
Philadelphia Police deploy hundreds of officers for rally
Philadelphia Mayor Kenney and the police, who caught wind of the two opposing group’s plans to protest, prepared for all possibilities prior to the rally on Saturday with Mayor Kenney sharing that there would be “coverage” of the event.
While both sides chanted and gave speeches, Philadelphia Police had hundreds of officers at the ready for an outbreak of violence, keeping the two groups mostly separated by Jersey barriers.
“I’ve only seen one guy get punched so far today,” shared Boston resident Gregg Housh, who attended to counter protest the conservative group. “That’s because one of the alt-right guys got out of their pen and walked around to the other side, walked right into the middle and starting yelling Trump stuff at them,” he shared.
The officer who was punched is said to be fine following the incident.