Group described as white supremacists march in Philadelphia

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FILE – In this March 31, 2021 file photo, traffic moves along the Interstate 76 highway in Philadelphia. If you’re traveling over the Memorial Day weekend, expect lots of company. The AAA auto club said Tuesday, May 11, that more than 37 million Americans plan to travel at least 50 miles from home over the holiday weekend. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Police say scores of members of a group described by the Anti-Defamation League as white supremacist marched in Philadelphia over the weekend, clashing with pedestrians and setting off what were believed to be smoke bombs at one point.

The group of Patriot Front members, estimated at 150 to 200 people, marched for several blocks in Center City wearing tan pants and black shirts with face coverings and carrying shields and flags. Police said they were chanting slogans such as “Reclaim America” and “The election was stolen.”

Police said pedestrians “engaged members of the group verbally” and there were several physical encounters. Finally, someone from the group used what police believe were smoke bombs “to cover their retreat as they fled,” police said.

Police didn’t announce any arrests and said there were no reports of any damage or injuries during the march, which came on the eve of Jill Biden’s visit to the city for Independence Day festivities.

The Anti-Defamation League calls the Texas-based group “a white supremacist group” that “espouses racism, anti-Semitism and intolerance under the guise of preserving the ‘ethnic and cultural origins’ of their European ancestors.” It also says the group “participates in localized ‘flash mobs’ and torch marches/demonstrations.”

Shira Goodman from the league’s Philadelphia chapter told The Philadelphia Inquirer that the group had recently been distributing leaflets, posting stickers, and spraying graffiti throughout the Philadelphia suburbs and Lehigh Valley and conducting flash mob-like meetings later posted on social media.

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