Following the death of Daunte Wright at the hands of Minneapolis Police, Philadelphians marched in solidarity with the people of Minneapolis on Tuesday night. More than 250 protestors marched from City Hall to Rittenhouse to the Italian Market and back down Broad Street chanting Daunte Wright’s name.
Hundreds of Philadelphia Police personnel followed, blocked, and attempted to wrangle protestors from 7:30pm to 10:30pm. Police were not stopping traffic beyond the first 10-15 minutes of protesting, nor attempting to keep protestors safe. Rather, police seemed to be scrambling in an attempt to follow protestors as they zig and zag. Protestors consistently used bicycles to block side streets allowing protestors on foot to walk safely.
Tuesday night’s protest was organized through purely grassroots means, messaging apps like Signal and Telegram along with the mass sharing of a digital flyer on Instagram told people to come out. A young man who recently moved to Philadelphia from California told the Plain Dealer “I saw the graphic on Instagram and had to come out, I’m happy that things are peaceful and safe here – out in LA things were crazy.”
The only identifiable organization on site was the Workers World Party.
The clear leaders of the night’s protest were two trans women; Marcha Pisces, Kendall Stephens, and trans-person, Samantha Rise. These three led the crowd in a variety of chants and speeches, both with and without sound equipment.
At one point in the evening, Kendall Stephens willed three women down from their apartment along 5th Street in Society Hill, a swankier part of the City. When the women came down, the crowd rejoiced.
Mere seconds after the above video, activist Samantha Rise implored the three white women not to “take pictures or live stream,” but to march with the crowd and confront the racism in their own lives.
The night only turned hectic one time during the three hour march. A minor confrontation occurred when police on bicycle attempted to pass protestors through a narrow passage along the Italian Market. An officer attempts to reprimand a man carrying a City barrier, she runs into him with her bike which angered the crowd.
Ultimately, the man kept the barrier, police were cornered, outnumbered, and forced to back off. There were no arrests.
The night’s march echoed the sentiments from last year’s protests following the death of George Floyd at the hands of the same police department. One protestor named Grizz Blanco, a 24 year old gave an impassioned speech in the middle of Market Street imploring “I am tired of living through historical events.”
The night ended with a warning to walk home safely and to rely on your fellow citizen, along with the announcement of a larger protest on Saturday 4/17.