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:
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:
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:
Another Twitter user called the group “MAGA scum”:
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:
As it happens a few scenes overnight in Fishtown demonstrated that the concerns of the armed group of men may have been justified: