Story by Joel Simon
Video by Ford Fischer

As Donald Trump traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a televised Townhall on ABC News with undecided voters, protesters took to the streets outside Independence Park to voice their objections with the Trump-Pence Administration. The protesters were led by the Philadelphia branch of Refuse Fascism.

President Trump recorded the town hall inside of the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, late Tuesday afternoon. While the event was being recorded, activists and protesters gathered, playing music, holding signs, and chanting anti-Trump and anti-police slogans.

The protesting group was eventually met by a smaller contingency of pro-Trump counterprotesters. While police initially allowed the competing protesters leeway to intermingle, eventually the sides were separated behind barricades.

Arguments did spark between the disparate groups, which occasionally led to pushing/shoving, including one Trump supporter’s hat being swiped by a protester.

Other, seemingly unaffiliated speakers showed up as well, most notably a vocally homophobic and sexist “preacher” who was kept separate from both Trump supporters and counter-protesters.

Protesters came in varied attire. Many wore orange shirts with Refuse Fascism text, while others dressed in a variety of costumes, from animals to Spider-Man to caricatures of Trump himself. Most notable was a protester dressed in a faux police uniform and pig costume, who walked up to police and encouraged them to wear masks.

Around 7 p.m., protest organizers began a vigil for “Victims of Police and Right-Wing violence,” with speakers lamenting that “Fascist mobs murdered over 20 people in the last few months,” and that the Trump-Pence administration was complicit in supporting genocide.

Amongst the speakers was Philadelphia kindergarten teacher and activist Zoe Sturges, who relayed a stories about her being racially abused on election night 2016 and about police trying to “put one of her 6 year-old students in handcuffs.”

Around 8pm, the protesters marched through the streets of downtown Philadelphia. Marching leaders led chants of “Silence is Complicity, with White Supremacy”, “Trump-Pence Out Now”, “No Trump, no KKK, no Fascist USA”, and “No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police”. Marchers walked through city blocks and parks for over an hour.

At multiple times, Refuse Facism organizer Samantha Goldman led event participants in “pledges,” saying “We pledge that we will not stand aside while there is still a chance to stop a regime that imperils humanity and the planet itself. We will stay in streets, we will bring forward millions and we will not stop until this demand is won. Trump-Pence out now.”

Groups of protesters split apart as the night went on, and at one point, police blocked a contingent that planned to march onto a nearby highway. As the night wound down, there were no confirmed arrests made by the Philadelphia Police.