Protests in Philly: Anti-Trump rallies in Center City, suburbs; Penn president joins anti-discrimination march

Protesters at a rally against police brutality marched from Philadelphia Police Headquarters at Eighth and Race streets to Rittenhouse Square on Wednesday night.

Protesters again took to the streets in and around Philadelphia on Wednesday.

In Center City, marchers angry at the election of Donald Trump snaked through streets from Police Headquarters at Eighth and Race Streets to Rittenhouse Square. At least two arrests were reported: one of a protester and one of a drone operator whose aircraft came near to a police helicopter following the demonstration.

That protest was followed by an anti-Trump march from Temple University to Center City.

In Delaware County, students at Swarthmore College were among those taking part in a series of rallies nationwide to urge administrators to protect students and employees against possible immigration action after Trump takes office.

In Montgomery County, about 40 students upset at police union support for Trump marched from Haverford College to Lower Merion Township police headquarters, where they were met by counter-demonstrators supporting Trump and the officers.

And at the University of Pennsylvania, the school's president, Amy Gutmann, took part in a solidarity rally against discrimination on the Ivy League school's campus. The school has been roiled by racist text messages – linked to three students from Oklahoma – that were sent to black freshmen at Penn last week.

Gutmann addressed students on Locust Walk, a pedestrian walkway that serves as the spine of the West Philadelphia campus.


"At a time when people are so divided, this is hope that we are united as a university. This is what higher education has to do. I have deans here, I have students here, I have faculty and staff," she said.

The movement was personal for her, Gutmann said, "given that my father escaped Nazi Germany, and my mother was a child of the Depression - I just think of them smiling and saying this is what their life was all about. And they couldn't live to realize it."

The event was organized by the school's faculty senate as a forceful response to the racist attacks on Penn students perpetuated by the Oklahoma students.

Across the city, tensions at the anti-Trump rally in Center City escalated as two women were taken away in police cars and several others were restrained. 

The Philadelphia Coalition for R.E.A.L. Justice hosted the rally — which began at 4 p.m. outside Police Headquarters on Eighth and Race Streets — to condemn the Fraternal Order of Police for its endorsement of Trump.

About 100 protesters started to march away from Police Headquarters at 5 p.m., weaving through cars west on Market Street and south on Broad, eventually making their way to Rittenhouse Square.

Tensions ran high as the protesters chanted anti-police statements in the faces of officers, including: "No good cops in a racist system" and "No Trump, no KKK, no fascist U.S.A."

The rally was nonviolent until one woman — the first to be taken away — tried to push through a wall of bicycle cops. Officers responded by pulling her away and pushing protesters back with their bikes. Protesters pushed back and yelled in the officers' faces.

The rally concluded at 18th and Walnut streets around 7:30 p.m. with no injuries and no further arrests at the event reported. A 20-year-old man was arrested for allegedly flying a drone near a police helicopter; he is expected to be charged with reckless endangerment.

As the Center City protest ended, Temple University students, including student organizations for women and Latinos, started rallying at Temple's Bell Tower before marching to City Hall.

"Our president-elect’s message of hate and violence is not welcome in our community," organizers of the Temple protest wrote on Facebook. "The students of the Philadelphia area: will not stand for the acts of racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and Islamaphobia that have existed long before this election, but have been emboldened by Donald Trump's win and will be furthered by his presidency."