A Philadelphia group was part of what was billed as a nation-wide series of protests against President Donald Trump, six months into the 45th president’s term.
The group was small. Around 60 protesters marched from the Liberty Bell to Thomas Paine Plaza on Sunday, calling for President Donald Trump to be impeached.
They chanted “lock him up,” which Trump supporters used against presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. They also call his regime “corrupt” and “fascist,” and accuse him of violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which prohibits him from accepting gifts or benefits from foreign leaders.
There was a smaller pro-Trump protest a little later. Among that group was Howard Caplan from Northeast Philadelphia, who went over by himself to protest the impeachment march.
“We have to come together as people…but they just keep pushing this narrative of hate,” he says. “They’re not going to impeach our president. It’s nonsense.”
He says he’s tired of MSNBC and CNN reporting on Trump’s ties to Russia because there’s no evidence. Instead, he says there should be an investigation into the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, citing a debunked conspiracy theory that Rich leaked DNC emails to Wikileaks.
By mid-afternoon after both marches ended, an anti-Trump protester attempted to steal a flag from a pro-trump marcher near the Tir Na Nog bar on 16th and Filbert streets.
Several anti-Trump protesters were arrested after attempting to attack pro-Trump supporters. The incident was caught on camera by NewsWorks photographer Brad Larrison (more photos in gallery above).
As Larrison tells it, a small group of Trump supporters walked back towards Center City with a police escort.
As they neared City Hall, a few Trump protesters “started walking around them and riding bikes past them and yelling.”
As they approached 16th and Filbert streets a few of the anti-Trump folks walked right into the pro-trump group and began to yell and antagonize them.
The group of Trump Supporters then turned down Filbert Street to go the bar Tir na Nog. Once on Filbert a female anti-Trump protester grabbed onto a pro-Trump marchers flag — the one in the photograph with the bloodied lip — and he tried to pull it back.
A scuffle ensued.
“At that point a male anti-Trump protester (I believe the one laying down in handcuffs in my last photo) got involved and I believe both anti-Trump folks were trying to punch the man with the flag. Police quickly intervened and then a few more anti-Trump people attempted to attack both police and the pro-Trump folks.
All who were arrested were anti-Trump protesters the entire altercation lasted no longer than a minute.”
What’s at stake
Technical writer Nad Rosenberg says she’s worried that Scott Pruitt, Trump’s appointee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, will “ruin the environment.” As Oklahoma attorney general, Pruitt has filed many legal challenges against the EPA and he says he does not believe carbon dioxide is a major cause of global warming.
“I don’t want my grandchildren to say, what did you do…when Trump was president?”
She adds that she teaches an English as a Second Language class to immigrants at the Free Library of Philadelphia, and disagrees with Trump’s travel ban.
“Immigrants are the backbone of this country, and to cut that off is a terrible mistake.”
Middle school math and science teacher Brandon Frye says he’s protesting partly to celebrate his First Amendment rights, on the Fourth of July weekend.
“I hope this will… just get people fired up, let them know that this is our country, at the end of the day, the president works for us and we shouldn’t have to succumb to him.”
Retired Army veteran Allan Trent drove from Delaware to take part in the Impeachment March, saying his ten years in the Army, including a tour of Baghdad in 2003, changed his perspective.
“There isn’t a whole lot of time to sit around and do nothing, because it goes by too quickly and you can be here today and not here tomorrow.”
Of the Trump supporters, he compares it to his experience in Baghdad, saying “it’s a bunch of very angry people who seem to think getting angry is the solution, and I’ve been in a place where there’s a whole lot of angry people trying to solve their problems, and mostly just people got killed, and nothing got better.”