July 05, 2020
As many residents of the Philly region spent the Fourth of July holiday at the beach, nearby a pool, or attending a barbecue, others took to the city’s streets on America’s 244th birthday to protest systemic racism and police brutality.
At least four separate peaceful demonstrations were held across Philadelphia on Saturday. The number of scheduled protests led the city to implement a traffic reduction on Saturday morning in Center City from 5th to 20th Streets between Vine and Walnut Streets.
Only employees and residents were allowed to enter the area, and those traveling were urged to use caution. The travel advisory was lifted Saturday evening.
The first protest of the day, called “Fist For The Fallen,” was held on Saturday morning and organized by the political organization Red Fist Rising to honor Black ancestors who died while as slaves in America.
It started along John F. Kennedy Boulevard outside of 30th Street Station, and demonstrators marched to City Hall where a ceremony was held upon arrival.
The protesters, who wore red and black clothing, had their firsts painted or gloved with red. Each of the marchers held their red fists in the air for nine minutes to honor George Floyd, a Black man who was killed on May 25 by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes as three other police officers watched. All four police officers have been fired from the Minneapolis department. Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, and the other police officers were charged with aiding and abetting murder.
Another protest took place outside of the Municipal Services Building in Center City and made its way to the Octavius Catto statue nearby City Hall.
The annual Fourth of July demonstration, which was organized by MOVE, called for both an end to police brutality in Philly and for the release of Black activist Mumia Abu-Jamal from prison.
Abu-Jamal was convicted of first-degree murder after being found guilty of killing a Philly police officer in 1982, according to WHYY. However, activists have been seeking to overturn the verdict since then, according to Billy Penn.
The event, which garnered hundreds of people, consisted of a 9-minute moment of silence to honor Floyd and other African Americans killed by police, as well as several guest speakers.
Large protest getting underway in Philadelphia, PA currently, at the site of the recently removed statue of former white supremacist Police Commisioner and Mayor Frank Rizzo pic.twitter.com/BKREjOHmkn— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) July 4, 2020
Protest to free political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal is getting underway. Contingent of Philly Police is guarding some hate preachers who have showed up to disrupt this event. The Free Mumia event has been a yearly July 4 protest at Rizzo statue site by Philly City Hall pic.twitter.com/OSyY1k7hX8— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) July 4, 2020
Mike Africa, Jr. from the MOVE organization is currently addressing the crowd. Easily 1,000 or more people here in the street between Philadelphia’s city hall and Municipal Services Building pic.twitter.com/56oRwAfwuJ— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) July 4, 2020
“Across this entire planet, people are rising up by the millions” - Mike Africa, Jr. pic.twitter.com/eCM3yYXBt5— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) July 4, 2020
Speaker at rally outside Philly city hall says the white supremacist history of American policing necessitates police abolition, says it’s a moral duty to work to free political prisoners pic.twitter.com/gI9UkYPvnm— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) July 4, 2020
Speaker from Philadelphia Student Union talks about policing, racism and neglect that Black youth face in Philly’s public schools pic.twitter.com/h8SmVBRxJg— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) July 4, 2020
After the crowd marched around Philly city hall, longtime Black political prisoner and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal addressed the gathering via phone: “I love you all...we will meet in the whirlwind” pic.twitter.com/LNztljsO9y— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) July 4, 2020
Mumia’s grandson Jamal has been addressing the crowd outside Philly city hall: pic.twitter.com/CP6pEBfq1s— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) July 4, 2020
Speaker from @REALjusticePHL calls out @PhillyMayor Kenney and @PPDCommish Outlaw for “disingenuous” apologies after extensive @PhillyPolice violence against demonstrators in recent weeks pic.twitter.com/mYDjRbyUzT— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) July 4, 2020
Pam Africa of MOVE speaks about the history of Mumia Abu Jamal’s case.— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) July 4, 2020
MOVE has been protesting by the (recently removed) Rizzo statue for Mumia’s freedom every July 4th since 1984. pic.twitter.com/zDnGeQcV9g
A third rally called the Black Trans Assembly for Abolition was held on Saturday afternoon in support of Black transgender people. Hundreds of protesters marched about 1-mile west through Old City from Chestnut and Front Streets, past the African American Museum in Philadelphia, to the Liberty Bell and Independence Mall.
All Black Lives Matter.— Sambas & Umbros (@MedlowMinus) July 4, 2020
July 4th in Philly supporters of trans lives and Black lives excercise their 1st amendment rights downtown blocks from where the Constitution was signed. #phillyprotest #blacklivesmatter pic.twitter.com/qtD7I68Vhr
Day 30+ of protest here in Philly. Your feeds have probably showed a decline in protest but make no mistake, people are still out protesting injustice each and every day. ✊🏾— Desuana ✨ (@Desuana_D) July 4, 2020
No one is free when others are oppressed. pic.twitter.com/Myo6f0uaho
Lastly, a march put together by Refuse Fascism Philly from Dilworth Park to City Hall on Saturday evening called for an end to the Trump administration, according to CBS3.
Koyuki on why we have to take on the whole fascist program & drive this regime from power in the streets NOW. At yesterday’s, @RefuseFascism #TrumpPenceOutNow protest. #SundayThoughts pic.twitter.com/q7i5BpABjz— Refuse Fascism Philly (@refusefascismPH) July 5, 2020
.@SamanthaGoldm19 reading @RefuseFascism #July4 call to protest. At this crossroads, what will you do?— Refuse Fascism Philly (@refusefascismPH) July 5, 2020
Read in full at https://t.co/1xCwnP1Tah
Chip-in: https://t.co/1bylvXk0wG#TrumpPenceOutNow#FourthofJuly pic.twitter.com/pFSEkBzx81
Peaceful demonstrations calling out systemic racism and police brutality have regularly-occurred across the city since late May.