The Philadelphia Inquirer characterized a group of about 100 people carrying bats, hammers, and shovels in the Fishtown neighborhood Monday evening as “nearly all white males” who said they were walking the streets to protect their homes and businesses from looters and rioters.
Content warning: Language:
— Kamala Kelkar (@kkelkar) June 1, 2020
At one point, the paper said the group argued with younger neighbors lined up across Girard Avenue who wanted the armed group to leave.
“Leave us alone!” one woman yelled, the paper reported. “We live here, and they’re making us feel unsafe!”
“Why were others teargassed for peacefully protesting but they could walk around with bats and be protected?” one woman asked, the Inquirer said.
One man who appeared to be wielding a hatchet was taken into police custody, the Inquirer added.
A surreal video posted to Twitter showed police officers posing for photos apparently with Fishtown residents as a man stood on a roof with a rifle:
— Harold Lanham (@HaroldLanham) June 2, 2020
There were plenty of reactions on Twitter about the group of armed men, calling them everything from “vigilantes” to “white supremacists.”
One Twitter user posted video and called them “white armed vigilante groups” and said they had the “blessing” of police:
— Josh Albert (@jpegjoshua) June 1, 2020
Another Twitter user called the group “MAGA scum”:
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
One scene got particularly ugly, as a few members of the group confronted Black Lives Matter protesters and challenged them to a fight if they bothered police.
“Anyone who wants to throw s**t at a cop or pick on a cop, pick one of us … and we’ll go around the corner and fight ya’s one on one,” one man said.
Toward the end of the clip another man ripped up a protester’s BLM sign while the first man used an anti-gay slur.
Content warning: Language, slur:
— Ellen Degenerate (@DAZZLESTORM) June 2, 2020
As it happens a few scenes overnight in Fishtown demonstrated that the concerns of the armed group of men may have been justified:
— Katie Katro (@KatieKatro6abc) June 2, 2020
Thugs and Antifa blowing up ATMs in Philadelphia so they can steal cash.
7th and Girard, trying to blow an ATM.
Probably what most of the Philly explosions are that everyone’s heard from Fishtown to Passyunk to Breweryrown. pic.twitter.com/L3CurSlMbT
— Gags ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@csevaluation) June 2, 2020
— jayce 🐍💉 (@exoltyy) June 2, 2020