Two police officers were injured while several protesters were arrested during a demonstration outside the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference in Center City Saturday afternoon.
A group of protesters, describing their demonstration as "Abolition Weekend," gathered on Arch and 12th streets near the Pennsylvania Convention Center around noon where the conference is taking place. On a Facebook page promoting the rally, organizers outlined the reason for the protest.
"The International Association Of Chiefs Of Police is coming to have their national convention in Philadelphia," they wrote. "However, we are clear of the damage that these individuals inflict on communities across our country. This weekend, we are standing up, saying no more, and laying the groundwork to abolish this corrupt system of policing we have in the United States."
The protesters carried signs that included the words, “No Good Cop in a Racist System,” “No War on the Poor,” “Abolish the Police,” and “IACP has love 4 Nazis.” They also repeatedly chanted, "If we don't get it, shut it down," and "No racist police. No justice no peace."
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One woman who witnessed the protest expressed confusion regarding what the purpose of the protest actually was.
"Martin Luther King stood for something," she said. "What do you stand for? What are you doing?"
Many of the protesters refused to speak on camera. One protester talked to NBC10's Aaron Baskerville however.
"Minority groups don't get their due respect and there is no one held accountable for when actions are taken," she said.
Chuck Fleeger, a police officer from College Station, Texas who is attending the IACP conference, suggested that the protesters have a conversation with law enforcement.
"Let them have their conversation right now," Fleeger said. "I'm from another state. The dialogue that they need to have is they need to have dialogue and relationships with their police department."
At some point during the demonstration, a scuffle broke out between some of the protesters and officers, police said. At least two officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Police also said several protesters were arrested though they did not reveal how many. They were taken to 9th District police headquarters on 401 N. 21st Street where a crowd of protesters gathered.
During Saturday's protest, Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke to police chiefs from cities across the country who are attending the IACP conference, and encouraged them to forge new relationships between local and federal authorities. Sessions is expected to speak again during the conference's conclusion on Monday.