Antifa protest
Photo: Joshua Scott Albert

ANTIFA & the Kids Clash With Pro-Trump Rally in Philadelphia

This past Saturday pro-Trump rallies to “Make America Great Again,” or whatever, took place across the country. But in Philadelphia, one pro-Trump march was shut down with the help of 300 kids on bikes.

I’ve covered hundreds of protests over the past five years. I’ve been teargassed, maced and arrested while reporting. I’ve seen some wild things and a huge diversity of tactics, but I’ve never seen anything like what happened this past weekend.

To set the scene: For reasons not worth getting into, Trump supporters decided they wanted to have a rally and march in the middle of Philadelphia, one of the most left-leaning places in the country. They announced their plans weeks ago, which gave activists, in this case a group of around 200 ANTIFA protesters decked out in all black, plenty of time to plan their mission to shut the Trump march down.

The route was supposed to start at 5th and Market and head to the Art Museum steps (see map below). Why there? Again, who knows? Maybe it has to do with the fact that’s where the Rocky statue is? The route was a 1.9 mile hike and it was going to be a difficult task for the police to try and keep the two groups separated. Prior to the march’s scheduled start time, a few scuffles between the two opposing groups had broken out and one person had been detained by police.

Screenshot from Google Maps of pro-Trump march route.

When the pro-Trump marchers began get in place, ANTIFA quickly started moving to any possible intersection the march would need to take to get to their destination. It didn’t take long, but the organizers of the pro-Trump rally decided to call off the march because they “didn’t want anyone to get hurt.”

When word of the cancellation got back to the ANTIFA members several blocks away, they celebrated and decided they would takeover the route. They called it a victory march.

It’s worth noting that the police presence was intense. I documented three instances of police being overly aggressive with anti-Trump protesters and saw one cop aimlessly throwing punches. The Philadelphia Police Department actually reached out to me this morning because they are investigating several of the incidents I documented.

When ANTIFA were about halfway to the Art Museum and took a small a break, they learned that the group of Trump supporter had re-evaluated and decided to march after all.

The ANTIFA group quickly mobilized and decided to start heading directly towards the Trump supporters who were seven blocks behind them. Te police were not entirely prepared for this development, as they were in the process of mobilizing their forces to the steps of the Art Museum, anticipating that’s where the confrontation would happen.

When ANTIFA started to head towards the Trump group, police immediately tried to stop them. Then all hell broke loose when protesters broke through the bike barrier that police tried to put in place. But still, protesters were not able to get to the Trump rally that was now about four blocks away.

Then, out of nowhere, around 300 kids on bikes descended on the scene joining the ANTIFA march, causing complete chaos. Knowing they were vastly outnumbered, many of the police officers just simply stopped, not knowing how to proceed.

Police officials immediately told the Trump supporters their march was over due to “imminent public safety concerns.”

Here’s video of how it happened.

300 kids on bikes joined an anitfa march today.

Nai-post ni Joshua Scott Albert noong Sabado, Marso 25, 2017

It was truly one of the most unique and beautiful things I’ve ever seen at a protest and it was nice to see Philly youth join the rest of the protesters in telling Trump supporters, and the police, “Fuck you.”

This wasn’t the only contentious pro-Trump rally as supporters and opponents of the president also fought in Orange County this weekend.

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