Hundreds demonstrate for, against Trump at Jersey Shore and in Center City

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Chaos reigned on Independence Mall for about two hours on Saturday as pro-Trump and anti-Trump groups shouted at one another across police lines and barricades, leading to safety concerns for tourists and others visiting Philadelphia’s historic sites.

Unnamed groups had threatened to disrupt the Trump supporters who had planned their Make America Great Again March, part of a nationwide event.

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At about 1 p.m., the pro-Trump supporters in Philly shouted angrily at police who were blocking them, saying that they had a legal right to march and their event had been usurped by the anti-Trump counterprotesters who were dressed in black and did not have a permit. 

Police told the pro-Trumpers that they couldn’t march over safety fears. But the pro-Trump marchers said they had paid for permits and were acting legally while anti-Trump protesters were not.  

Anti-Trump protesters, dressed in black, apparently decided to march on their own. They were seen marching west on Market Street, near 8th, at about 1:25 p.m.

But then, about 2 p.m., the pro-Trump supporters were allowed to march. They were seen heading west toward City Hall. (The group initially planned to begin its march at about 1:30 p.m.)

Their plan was to march to Eakins Oval, in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but they didn’t make it there.

Police Deputy Commissioner Joseph Sullivan said the pro-Trump group was advised to stop around City Hall because of “concerns for their safety and for innocent people.” So, after marching around City Hall, the pro-Trump group headed back on Market Street toward Independence Mall, where they dispersed at about 3:15 p.m.

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Sullivan confirmed that police had initially delayed the pro-Trump group from marching because of “public safety concern” and the potential for an “imminent conflict” with the anti-Trump protesters.

The anti-Trump group, meanwhile, remained around City Hall and also ended up dispersing at about 3:15 p.m.

During the day, two people were issued citations for disorderly conduct, police spokesman Sgt. Eric Gripp said. One man was issued a citation at 5th and Market Streets. Meanwhile, a juvenile boy was issued one while on the 1600 block of Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Sullivan said both people issued citations were anti-Trump protesters. 

“More importantly, no one’s been injured” and there have been no reports of property damage, he said.

The pro-Trump Pennsylvania MAGA March had started at about 11:30 a.m. at People’s Plaza on Independence Mall, near Fifth and Market Streets, where they were met by anti-Trump counterprotesters. 

According to an image of a flier on the Disrupt MAGA Philly website, counterprotesters were asked to bring “noisemakers, instruments, floats, megaphones,” among other things, and “to confront Trump’s supporters and to prevent” their march from happening.

Around 12:25 p.m., anti-Trump protesters were seen marching around Independence Mall, where the pro-Trump supporters were gathered.

Meanwhile, at a pro-Trump rally at the Seaside Heights boardwalk on Saturday afternoon, things were peaceful.

At about the time the Philly marches dispersed, the pro-Trump supporters in Seaside Heights began to march on the boardwalk.

At one point, an anti-Trump protester was protected by police.

The scene is Seaside Heights was definitely more peaceful.

The Make America Great Again marches, named after the president’s campaign slogan, were scheduled to take place in 40 cities or towns in 32 states, and in Washington D.C., in support of the new administration, veterans and law enforcement.


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