Around 100 White Men Armed With Bats And Shovels Seen Awaiting The Arrival Of 'Looters' In Philadelphia
“I’m ready to f**k s**t up. You know, I’ve been looking for a fight for the past six months,” one person was overheard saying as another tore up a "Black lives matter" sign.
Things turned volatile in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Fishtown as a group of nearly 100 white men was seen walking the streets with bats and shovels in anticipation of protesters Monday night, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
"My hood's a mess right now. Philly protestors on your way into Fishtown: There's MAGA scum w/ blunt force weaponry waiting for you. Be ready and crew up," a Twitter user said.
My hood’s a mess right now. Philly protestors on your way into Fishtown: There’s MAGA scum w/ blunt force weaponry waiting for you. Be ready and crew up. pic.twitter.com/iUDaomO85v— Josh Goldbloom (@cinepocalypse) June 1, 2020
The group of counter-protesters armed with household items said they supported the police and their intentions were to protect their local businesses and property from being damaged.
here's a bunch of white dudes on girard in fishtown armed with bats protecting a police station. not being harassed by police. pic.twitter.com/QWzFgeNf7F— Josh Albert (@jpegjoshua) June 1, 2020
Police and SWAT teams were deployed to the neighborhood, which brought on a multitude of questions after Black Lives Matter movement protesters were tear-gassed and asked to disperse.
“Why were others tear-gassed for peacefully protesting but they could walk around with bats and be protected?” one woman asked.
“I saw hundreds of people teargassed two hours ago for walking around and these people are standing around with bats,” another person said.
The two groups argued over "new Fishtown" and "old Fishtown," indicating drastic changes to the demographics of the neighborhood over the years.
A separate group of young residents in Fishtown gathered outside pleading with the men seen with bats, shovels and hammers to leave.
“Leave us alone!” one woman yelled. “We live here and they’re making us feel unsafe!”
As tension continued to rise in the neighborhood, the two groups continued to argue with the police standing in the middle as a barricade, KYW reported.
A person standing in support of the police grabbed a "Black lives matter" sign from a protester and ripped it up.
“I’m ready to f**k s**t up. You know, I’ve been looking for a fight for the past six months,” a person was overheard saying.
Over in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, elected officials acknowledged white nationalists agitating peaceful protests in the town and urged people to be safe, Penn Live reported.
“We have seen with our own eyes the agitators that were in the crowd,” Mayor Danene Sorace said.
The police chief in Lancaster said they had "definite evidence" of white supremacists carrying handguns and other weapons while wearing body armor at the protests.
Police Chief Jarrad Berkihiser said "Caucasian individuals" were throwing rocks and bottles at police. Berkihiser placed blame on agitators for seeking to damage property and incite violence with police.
In Philadelphia, state troopers were accused of agitating protesters on the interstate and deploying tear gas canisters into the crowd. A demonstrator told WHYY that the protest on the expressway was peaceful and the officers were the first ones to turn violent.
“We have no weapons. We’re unarmed. We’re here peacefully and they have continued to use force. And it will only get worse I’m sure,” a Black Lives Matter movement protester said.
In Washington D.C. on Monday night, police tear-gassed a crowd of peaceful protesters to make way for President Donald Trump to take a picture in front of a church with a bible in his hand, The New York Times reported.
Just as turmoil in cities begins to peak, gun shop owners say lines have been out of the building. While it's too early to review data of gun sales since protests erupted, gun owners have made their intentions clear, WPVI reported.
"If somebody walks into my house, he's done. That's the only thing I can say," a gun owner said.
"It's definitely because of what I witnessed the last couple days, the more the better," another gun owner said.