PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia police clashed with protesters Thursday outside of the city’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office, leading to seven arrests. A similar incident happened on Tuesday which led to the arrests of nearly 30 protesters.
Activists calling for an end to the city’s contract with ICE have been camped outside the building on Cherry Street in Center City for four days.
Officers say they stepped in after several warnings because the building doors were blocked.
Seven protesters were issued citations and then released.
“ICE is not a legitimate police force that seeks to protect people. It was created recently in the hysteria of anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant sentiments following 9/11. It’s a repressive instrument and you see that today,” said Chenjerai Kumanyika of the 215 People’s Alliance.
Officials from ICE released a statement saying they respect the rights of people to voice their opinions.
A spokesperson for Mayor Jim Kenney says while the mayor shares the protesters’ frustrations with ICE, they cannot “create a threat to public safety” by blocking access to ICE’s building and setting up permanent encampments.
“Protesters have been notified repeatedly that they are free to remain and protest at the premises, as long as they do not block the building egress or set up permanent encampments. Despite these repeated warnings today and throughout the week, a group of protesters ignored these instructions. No one, regardless of political view, is permitted to set up an encampment and the mayor cannot make exceptions simply because he agrees with the protesters,” the mayor’s office said.
This was the second time this week that police and protesters clashed outside the building. On Tuesday, 29 people were arrested.