George Floyd protests

Huge protest at Art Museum brings at least 50,000 to Philly’s largest rally for justice 

The march was one of several peaceful gatherings in the city on Saturday.

On the 7th straight day of protests in Philadelphia, demonstrators called for an end to police brutality on the steps of the Art Museum. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

On the 7th straight day of protests in Philadelphia, demonstrators called for an end to police brutality on the steps of the Art Museum. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

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Updated July 3 with new crowd estimates

One week after protests first erupted in Philadelphia, many thousands of people coalesced Saturday at the Art Museum for the city’s largest rally for justice so far.

The crowd marched down the Ben Franklin Parkway to City Hall, where they faced off peacefully with the National Guard. People then made their way up Broad Street, passing a phalanx of law enforcement blocking off I-676, the site of the tear-gassing on Monday. The protest then made its way west on Spring Garden to arrive back at Eakins Oval and the iconic steps.

Crowd size estimates are tricky and often vary depending on the source. According to an analysis by the New York Times, turnout was between 50,000 to 80,000 people

Via @cerronephoto

Several other demonstrations also happened throughout the day, which saw Mayor Jim Kenney and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw join the crowds to speak, and brought almost no disturbances or disruptions.

Many people were wearing masks, and most tried to stay relatively distant from one another, to avoid spread of COVID-19. City health officials recommend that people who attended protests get tested seven days after their exposure.

We again followed along on Twitter; here’s a recap of how the day went down.

Organized by the Party for Socialism and Liberation and other groups, this the most pre-planned of the protests so far, and city officials had a chance to prepare.

In addition to road closures, there were Port-a-Potties and street misters.

Groups were out early trying to register new voters for the November election.

“It’s not this movement that caused chaos, it’s 400 years of racism,” said an organizer to kick things off.

A drumline helped amp up the crowd.

Even before the official crowd figures came in, many people were calling it the largest gathering they’d seen since the Eagles’ victory parade.

Philly’s urban cowboys showed up as the march moved down the Parkway.

Protesters confront the National Guard in front of the Municipal Services Building, formerly home to the Rizzo statue.

Law enforcement and dumptrucks were set up to block the entrance to the Vine Street Expressway. The location is where cars burned last weekend.

Images showing the huge size of the gathering went viral online.

A dance party broke out at 15th Street and JFK Boulevard.

Back at the Art Museum, the first march wrapped up with a cheer.

A concurrent rally organized by the Divine 9 group of Black sororities and fraternities started at the Octavius Catto statue at City Hall and marched to the African American Museum of Philadelphia.

It brought out PPD Commissioner Outlaw.

As well as former Eagle and criminal justice activist Malcolm Jenkins.

Also spotted out at the protests: a shark on rollerblades. Welcome to Philadelphia.

Want some more? Explore other George Floyd protests stories.

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