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Protesters Hit the Streets of Philadelphia
Tuesday, August 1, 2000

After several days of peaceful demonstrations, numerous confrontations erupted in downtown Philadelphia Tuesday between police and youthful protesters.

A coordinated effort to block city intersections began at 3:30 p.m., when a group of about 15 demonstrators locked arms and blocked an intersection in front of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. A red banner proclaiming “Texas Killing Machine” was unfurled at the corner and members of the group began chanting, “End the death penalty now!”

Meanwhile, a few blocks away, another group of about 30 protesters linked arms and blocked access to an Interstate 676 on-ramp. After repeated warnings and more than 30 minutes of protesting, police began arresting those blocking the road. A Detroit woman named Melina, who described herself as a “peace mediator” was one of a number of protesters during the day who said she was seeking to change the social structure in America.

Just before 6 p.m., as Philadelphians began to head home, a large group of protesters marched and ran down Benjamin Franklin Parkway, just in front of the Windsor Hotel, where much of the Bush campaign is staying. Some jumped on cars and threw debris into the street, before turning down a side street. Police caught up with the demonstrators and made several arrests after officers in riot gear on horses dispersed the crowd. A New Jersey man who identified himself as DLJ, said demonstrators were expecting violence from Philadelphia police, given their history.

Paramedics treated Lt. Brad Christy, one of the officers at the scene, after he was sprayed in the face with hot sauce. The confrontations continued throughout the downtown area into the early evening, with a large group confronting police in front of City Hall. The scene was surreal at times as professionals getting out of work joined the group, watching the action from the sidelines.

-- Steve Fox, washingtonpost.com staff

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