Masked white supremacists marching on Philadelphia City Hall retreated when confronted by onlookers
Philadelphia police say white supremacists recorded marching near City Hall and shouting phrases such as “The election was stolen!” and “Reclaim America!” ran away as residents began to pursue them, appearing to deploy smoke bombs for cover.
In footage of the group captured Saturday, a number of members, most of whom wore white masks, could be seen with U.S. flags and shields in hand as they marched. A few could also be seen holding a large banner that read, “Reclaim America.”
Tanya Little, a spokeswoman for local police, told NBC News that the band of marchers, which consisted of nearly 200 members, belonged to the group Patriot Front.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has described Patriot Front as a white nationalist hate group that was formed after the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017. The group is also known for its ties to the white supremacist group Vanguard America.
The Anti-Defamation League said members of the group “maintain that their ancestors conquered America and bequeathed it solely to them.”
Videos of the demonstration that have racked up thousands of views online showed it wasn’t long after the group of marchers hit the streets downtown on late Saturday that they were met with opposition from locals.
“They started engaging with citizens of Philadelphia, who were none too happy about what they were saying,” Philadelphia police officer Michael Crum told a local NBC affiliate.
“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,” Crum said.
Onlookers could be seen in footage that surfaced online pushing the marchers. Other footage showed one of the marchers having what appeared to be one of their shields thrown back at them.
Little told NBC News that members of the group eventually appeared to deploy smoke bombs in a bid “to cover their retreat as they fled.”