Protesters paint 'END RACISM NOW' outside Philadelphia police's 26th District headquarters

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Demonstrators in Philadelphia's Fishtown section shared a powerful message on Tuesday night.

Protesters took a knee after hundreds armed with paint rollers spread the message, "End racism now."

The message was painted onto Girard Avenue between E. Montgomery Avenue and E. Berks Street, just outside Philadelphia police's 26th District headquarters.

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Protesters paint 'END RACISM NOW' on Philadelphia street on June 9, 2020.

Organizers of the demonstration say they had permission from the city to do this but not to make it permanent. The Philadelphia Fire Department started washing the paint away late Tuesday night, but the message was still visible on Wednesday morning.

A group of people in Fishtown painted "END RACISM NOW" on Girard Avenue Tuesday night. After talks of it possibly being removed, the message was still there Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday, city issued a statement saying they allowed organizers to paint the message and indicated to them that it was fine for the installation to stay until it faded naturally.

"Organizers, however, fully intended to have the display removed overnight - after capturing inspiring images - to ensure the streets remained safe with clear driving lines. They wanted to work on finding a more permanent location for this type of art display. Based on the organizers' request to the city, the fire department attempted to clean off the paint. Ultimately, fire hoses could not remove it, and the display is still visible. The city has no intentions of removing it at this time," the statement said.

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Chopper 6 flies over "end racism now" painting in Fishtown on June 10, 2020.

The message is in the same section of the city where last week video showed residents armed with bats and shovels claiming to be protecting the neighborhood from looters and those protesting police. It was also the same neighborhood where officers were seen just a day after that incident hugging with protesters.

READ MORE: Philadelphia officers, protesters exchange hugs during peaceful demonstrations
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In Philadelphia's Fishtown section, officers could be seen hugging and kneeling with demonstrators. The calming moment was the same section of the city where on Monday night a group of residents could be seen armed with bats and shovels.

Demonstrations and conversations about racism and police reform were held across the city Tuesday.

The Francis Myers Recreation Center in Southwest Philadelphia is a safe space for candid conversations about race and policing.

For Renee Whittington, it's a chance to ease her fears of those in uniform.

"Have your parents had the 'talk' with you?" asked reporter Christie Ileto.

"Most definitely, I think it's a shame that we have to have the talk about people that are supposed to be abiding by the pledge," said Renee.

In Foxchase, people marched in unity, before stopping at the intersection where one man attempted to interrupt the demonstration.

"I think it will be heard in the sense that people will make token moves, but it will require us to stay vigilant and put people in office who make a difference," said Diane Payne.

Residents are pressuring for policy change while the city's youngest look for common ground.

"I think it's a start," said Renee. "Honestly just talking about it is not enough. We have to actually do something. So hopefully this can bring more awareness."

On Tuesday, Mayor Jim Kenney released his agenda for police reform, which includes the elimination of his proposed funding hike for the department in next year's budget and an increase in the department's diversity.

Kenney acknowledged the 10 days since protests started in the city following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

He said the city has "seen and heard the cries of thousands of Philadelphians seeking change."

RELATED: Mayor Kenney releases his agenda for police reform in Philadelphia; includes elimination of proposed police budget hike
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Mayor Jim Kenney released his agenda for police reform in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

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