Vice President Mike Pence returned back to Philadelphia on Saturday, February 4, 2017, and was greeted by between 2,000 and 3,000 demonstrators. Nearly 5,000 people protested the Republican Retreat in Philly only a week earlier on January 26. Both protests exceeded the usual amount of people at Philly rallies prior to November 8, 2016, due to the entrance of a large amount liberal Hillary supporters post-election.
Mike Pence gave a speech near Independence Mall at Congress Hall to the Federalist Society, a conservative group on February 4. At 11 A.M. several hundred of us gathered a block from Independence Mall, carrying a wide variety of homemade signs. We stood on the sidewalk until a few Black Bloc individuals encouraged everyone to stand in the street, which the police did not mind. We chanted in the street and began marching in what turned out to be us marching for miles around the perimeter of Congress Hall, which was heavily guarded. Someone brought police caution-tape, but the logo on the tape read “Fuck Off,” and the tape was stretched out for over a block with people incidentally forming a human chain connected by their rage and hope for a better world. This tape originally appeared at the Republican Retreat protest a week earlier, and Philly activists engaged in recent activities continually appear with the “Fuck Off” tape.
After marching around Congress Hall, we passed by Independence Mall and marched to Thomas Paine Plaza (across the street from City Hall), where we met with a protest of more than 3,000 people for a Ban the Wall and No Ban rally. Speeches were made at Thomas Paine Plaza, until thousands of people poured into the streets, filled up the roads for blocks. I was in the back of the march on 13th street and was on the phone with my friend who was closer to the front of the march on 9th street, and the march most likely stretched longer than that. The march, of course, went back to Independence Mall near 6th Street to protest Pence. If Pence looked down he would have seen about 3,000 people, with a crazy high ratio of well done homemade signs, chanting: “Fuck Mike Pence.” “Fuck” seems to be a common thread throughout Philly protests – all the way from Fuck the system to ‘we are Fucked unless we do something.’ Philly.com listed other chants that day, which have now become standard hymns for seasoned activists: “This is what Democracy looks like” and “No Pence, No Fear.”
Philly newspapers have been loving the massive protests in the city, covering everything in the last few weeks. The Pence protests were covered by Philly Voice, titled “Pence visits Philly; protesters fill streets;” Fox 29; Penn Live was titled “Protesters again march in Philadelphia against Trump ban; NBC‘s headline was “2,000 March in Center City to Protest Travel Ban;” Politics PA title read, “VP Pence Speaks in Philly amid Protests.”
Common Dreams wrote about the event taking place among the third weekend in a row of Anti-Trump protests since the inauguration, with protests happening that same day against Trump outside his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.