Several hundred people gathered near Philadelphia's City Hall Thursday to protest Freddie Gray's police-custody death in Baltimore before marching onto city streets and blocking traffic for some time before the protests turned ugly.
Chants of "No justice, no peace," and "Black lives matter" filled Dilworth Plaza as news helicopters hovered overhead. After hours of demonstration, police and protesters could be seen pushing each other near 15th and Vine streets in Center City after the protest pushed toward the Interstate 676. Objects were thrown at police who used batons to hold the line.
The altercations came in the middle of a mostly peaceful demonstrations around Center City.
Organizers of the "Philly is Baltimore" protest, which brought hundreds of demonstrators to Center City, compare the December shooting death of Brandon Tate-Brown in Philadelphia to the April 19 death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. The protesters also raised concerns about community and police relations in Philadelphia.
Dozens of protesters began marching along Chestnut Street in University City toward Center City shortly after 4 p.m. At the same time, the crowd began to grow at Dilworth Plaza -- near City Hall. By 5:30 p.m. the crowd grew to up to 800 people, said Philadelphia Police.
The demonstration remained peaceful as protesters chanted for justice as they listened to some speakers earlier in the day.
Several dozen uniformed police officers stood guard while plainclothes officers patrolled nearby.
Around 6 p.m., the protesters began to march -- splitting in two -- one marched around City Hall then toward Rittenhouse Square while the other group headed up Broad Street.
The larger group moved toward Rittenhouse Square then onto Walnut Street -- some protesters argued with bystanders along the way. The protest then moved toward the Vine street Expressway where ramps were blocked leading to pushing between police and protesters.
Police arrested two protesters for disorderly conduct.
By 9 p.m., the protest moved near the Gallery Mall then back across Center City to 18th Street and the Ben Franklin Parkway where police blocked the entrance to the Four Season Hotel.
The protest continued in Center City around 10:30 p.m.
Twenty-year-old Tiffany Williams, who is black, held up a sign reading: "Stop killing us" as she demonstrated near City Hall.
"We don't feel protected. The people, they feel afraid. All we want is for the police to take care of the community instead of taking from us," Williams said.
"Just like back in the day, our mothers our fathers, they went through a revolution for us," she added. "Now it's time for us to speak up."
Amalek Rogers also carried a sign, which read: "Equal justice for all, including me."
"It starts with a protest, peaceful protest. You're not given what you don't ask for," she said.
The district attorney isn't pressing charges in Tate-Brown's death, saying evidence indicates that he was reaching into his car for a loaded pistol.
His mother, Tanya Brown-Dickerson, filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging officers planted the gun. She wants police to turn over surveillance video and the names of the officers involved.
"The minute I get the video I want the world to see it," she said at the Philadelphia rally. "It's killing me not to show everybody the pictures of my son's body. They beat the hell out of my baby."
Officials in Maryland say 25-year-old Gray had severe spinal injuries when he died a week after officers in Baltimore loaded him into a van without a seat belt.