Philadelphia, PA – A Texas based white supremacist group’s march in Center City was cut short this weekend when residents and pedestrians ran them off the streets.
Armed with smoke bombs and shields, about 200 masked members of the Patriot Front organization attempted to march on the city late Saturday night.
According to Philadelphia police, the group chanted “reclaim America” and “The election was stolen” as they marched down the public streets, engaged in pushing and shoving with pedestrians and took a reporter’s cellphone.
But the groups boldness quickly faded as more residents turned out to counter their protest.
Police said pedestrians “engaged members of the group verbally” and there were several physical encounters.
“They started engaging with citizens of Philadelphia, who were none too happy about what they were saying. These males felt threatened, and, at one point, somebody in their crowd threw a type of smoke bomb to cover their retreat, and they literally ran away from the people of Philadelphia,” said Philadelphia Police Officer Michael Crum.
Multiple cellphone videos posted on social media show the group fleeing back to their vehicles as citizens follow.
Police stopped the vehicles for safety violations and can be seen on video questioning, frisking and detaining members of the group.
However, police didn’t announce any arrests and said there were no reports of any damage or injuries during the march.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said he was “appalled” that the group chose his city for its demonstration.
“While we respect everyone’s right to exercise free speech, our administration stands against everything these groups represent,” he wrote on Twitter. “Racism, intolerance, and hate have no place here.”
One local activist told the Inquirer that he feels the police didn’t do enough to stop the group from assaulting bystanders.
“It’s obvious that, when Black folks and people who are our accomplices and allies organize in the streets, they are met with a different kind of response from police,” Abdul-Aliy Muhammad in an interview with the Inquirer.
The Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center have reported that members of Patriot Front promote “racism, anti-Semitism, and intolerance” through their stated goal of returning the country to the “ethnic and cultural origins” of their European ancestors. Its members frequently push the ideology of “taking America back.”