Seven more arrests took place at an encampment now four days old outside the Philadelphia regional office for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and bicycle cops plowed through tents to clear a path to the building.
Dozens of activists have rallied for four days in the city's Chinatown neighborhood, taking over the sidewalk leading into and out of the ICE offices. They are pressing for an end to the separation of parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border, and calling for the closure of an immigrant family detention center in Berks County.
Protesters also have said they demand that Philadelphia end an agreement it has with the federal government to allow ICE to access to city police, court and prosecutorial records filed in the Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System, or PARS.
Despite the licensing agreement, Mayor Jim Kenney's office released a statement that in part described a strong oversight of how ICE uses the information entered into PARS, and noted that there are "several important reasons why this agreement is in place."
That includes the use of PARS as a database for all law enforcement agencies collaborating within Philadelphia, and ICE's involvement in human trafficking issues and homeland security investigations.
The seven arrested received citations for "failure to disperse," and were released, police said.
Following the arrests and as NBC10 and others broadcast video showing the newest day's clash between city bike cops and protesters, Kenney said through a spokesman that he agrees with the goals of the protest but cannot allow unlawful demonstrations.
"Protestors have been notified repeatedly that they are free to remain and protest at the premises, as long as they do not block the building egress or set up permanent encampments. Despite these repeated warnings today and throughout the week, a group of protestors ignored these instructions," the spokesman said in an email. "No one, regardless of political view, is permitted to set up an encampment and the mayor cannot make exceptions simply because he agrees with the protesters."
Nearly 30 protesters were arrested and issued citations earlier in the week when they refused to move from the walkway.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
The Philadelphia protests are part of a nationwide outcry that involves encampments across the country by activists demanding an end to anti-immigration practices of the Trump administration.
On the July 4th holiday Wednesday, a woman scaled the Statue of Liberty to protest ICE and the Department of Homeland Security with a sign that read "Abolish ICE."