On Aug. 25, members from the far-left extremist group rallied at City Hall in opposition to a “Blue Lives Matter” march, where residents came out to show their support for law enforcement.
“In spite of all the negative press towards police, we want to show our support of our men and women in blue!” event organizer Zachary Rehl wrote in the march’s description on Facebook.
“Contrary to popular belief, the police are not what the media makes them out to be and we want to create a positive bridge between the police and the community,” he wrote. Rehl is a Marine Corps veteran and the son of deceased Philadelphia police officer Robert Rehl.
Philadelphia police confirmed with The Epoch Times that “approximately 75 members of Antifa” were present at the area of the march at Broad and Arch streets.
“During the protest, several members begin to fight with police. As a result, a total of 16 people were arrested. Nine were issued citations for Failure to Disperse, and seven were charged with Disorderly Conduct (Misdemeanor 3),” a spokesperson said via email.
Footage of the march depicts numerous Antifa members in their signature black apparel and concealed faces fighting with police, with multiple arrests taking place.
In one encounter captured on camera, a mob of Antifa members descended upon some officers on bicycles who were holding their ground. During the clashes, many tumbled on the ground and some officers could be seen wielding batons to ward off Antifa members.
Authorities said that while the “Blue Lives Matter” march occurred simultaneously with Antifa’s counter-protest, the two groups didn’t interact.
The organization, reportedly classified as committing “domestic terrorist violence” by the Obama administration, is classified as a domestic terrorist threat by New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
A Twitter account named “Abolish ICE – Philly” wrote about the arrests and asked for bail money to be sent to them. In the post, the Antifa members are called “comrades,” a reference that communists or socialists use to refer to each other.
“Comrades are still locked up, next window they may get out is 12:30 am. We need jail support at 20th and Hamilton and 7th and race. Please, if you can, send all bail support money to @liberationproject on venmo,” the Aug. 25 Twitter post read.
A press release by the Abolish ICE/Antifa account details that the “counter-protest” was endorsed by multiple communist organizations, including the Philly Socialists, Philadelphia Socialist Alternative, Liberation Project, The Party for Socialism, OccupyICEPHIL, and more.
Joshua Philipp contributed to this report.