As Republican leaders were meeting in a Philadelphia hotel Friday for their annual congressional retreat and an appearance by President Donald Trump, thousands of protesters gathered outside the security perimeter to denounce the new president and his policies.
Close to 10,000 demonstrators amassed outside the Loews hotel, where the gathering taking place, chanting and waving banners and homemade signs. Trump flew into Philadelphia and addressed the crowd after 1 p.m.
“Dump Trump!” and “Donald Trump has got to go!” were just some of the chants that could be heard. “We are the 99 percent!” was another.
Jean Woodley, 73, of Mount Airy, said she hadn’t been motivated to march in 50 years, not since she participated in the March on Washington and in Selma, Alabama.
“Everyone who loves this country has to stand up. I am just appalled at what I see every day in the news,” Woodley said. “Everything I see I disagree with. You start a new job, you get the lay of the land. He just comes in and is creating chaos on every front. How much trauma can we stand?”
There were no Trump supporters in view as thousands of protesters gathered at Thomas Paine Plaza at 15th Street and JFK Boulevard, then filled the streets around City Hall before marching to the Loews hotel a couple of blocks away.
The protest was generally peaceful, with a heavy police presence and many bicycle police officers following the marchers.
The protesters held signs for a variety of causes, from their opposition to the president to his policies on the Affordable Care Act, climate change, a ban on Muslim refugees and building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.