For the fourth straight day protesters camped out outside the ICE office at 8th and Cherry streets, demanding an immediate end to the separation and jailing of migrant families at the US, Mexico border.
The tension between authorities and the demonstrators began to grow shortly after noon.
VIDEO: Tension growing in Center City as @PhillyPolice ask protesters to move back from street/sidewalk and entrance to ICE office. Protester says “we’ve done everything you’ve asked” @6abc pic.twitter.com/HB8ZLKHky0— Jeannette Reyes (@6abcJeannette) July 5, 2018
Police repeatedly asked the protesters to move back from the streets, sidewalks and entrance to the ICE office, and move to a contained area.
But after three warnings, police moved in, tearing down tents. Several protesters resisted, resulting in arrests.
"We gave warnings today so we didn't have these door blocks, but we had to make seven arrests," said Deputy Commissioner Special Operations Dennis Wilson.
Amlian Wang, an organizer said, "At the national level we are calling for the abolition and defunding of ICE."
Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell adds, "The community of faith across the United States is enraged and we are gathering together in cities and in front of detention centers."
Earlier this week 29 protesters were arrested after a clash with police.
Deputy Commissioner of Special Operations Dennis Wilson said, "We are protecting their right to protest as well as trying to keep the streets open and trying access to this building. There are multiple businesses in this building so we have to make sure these entrances are kept open."
This protest is part of a growing nationwide movement criticizing the Trump administration's controversial "zero tolerance" immigration policy.
On Tuesday in New York City a protester scaled the base of the Statue of Liberty. She said she wouldn't come down until children separated from unauthorized parents at the U.S.-Mexico border were reunited. Police apprehended her a couple of hours later.
In a statement ICE said in part:
"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion peacefully without interference. ICE deportation officers conduct enforcement actions every day around the country, including Pennsylvania, as part of the agency's ongoing efforts to uphold public safety and border security."
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