PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Police say scores of members of a group described by the Anti-Defamation League as white supremacists marched in Philadelphia over the weekend, clashing with pedestrians and setting off what were believed to be smoke bombs at one point.
The group of Patriot Front members, estimated at 150 to 200 people, marched for several blocks in Center City Saturday night, wearing tan pants and black shirts with face coverings and carrying shields and flags. Police said they were chanting slogans such as “Reclaim America” and “The election was stolen.”READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Body Of Missing 26-Year-Old Casey Johnston Recovered, Believed To Have Been Killed In Crash, Authorities Say
The march reportedly started near Love Park and stretched all the way to Penn’s Landing.
Police said pedestrians “engaged members of the group verbally” and there were several physical encounters. Finally, someone from the group used what police believe were smoke bombs “to cover their retreat as they fled,” police said.
A counter-protester sent a video to Eyewitness News. CBS3 also spoke with one of the counter-protesters, who says he was injured during a confrontation. He says he was surprised not only that the rally was happening, but that others jumped in to stand up to the group.
Police didn’t announce any arrests and said there were no reports of any damage or injuries during the march, which came on the eve of Jill Biden’s visit to the city for Independence Day festivities.READ MORE: Man Cleaning Gun, Shoots And Kills 22-Year-Old Girlfriend In Bustleton, Philadelphia Police Say
Mayor Jim Kenney says he is “appalled” the groups chose Philadelphia for their march.
“Appalled these groups chose Philly as the place to demonstrate their open hatred. Racism, intolerance, and hate have no place here. We’re monitoring the situation. @PhillyPolice and other public safety agencies are coordinating to ensure a safe 4th of July in Philadelphia,” Kenney tweeted.
The Anti-Defamation League calls the Texas-based group “a white supremacist group” that “espouses racism, anti-Semitism and intolerance under the guise of preserving the ‘ethnic and cultural origins’ of their European ancestors.” It also says the group “participates in localized ‘flash mobs’ and torch marches/demonstrations.”
Shira Goodman from the league’s Philadelphia chapter told The Philadelphia Inquirer that the group had recently been distributing leaflets, posting stickers, and spraying graffiti throughout the Philadelphia suburbs and Lehigh Valley and conducting flash mob-like meetings later posted on social media.MORE NEWS: Colts' Carson Wentz Choosing Rest, Rehab For Foot Injury, Remains Out Indefinitely
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Stay with CBSPhilly.com for updates.