July 7 (UPI) — Hours after a police raid broke up a protest encampment in Philadelphia, opponents of the Trump administration’s immigration policies relocated to City Hall on Friday.
The “Occupy ICE” protesters are looking for a meeting with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and the city council to hear their demands — abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, close a federal detention center in Berks County and end a data-sharing agreement with federal officials.
The demonstrators’ first camp was cleared out by Philadelphia police late Thursday. By Friday morning, they had set up camp in City Hall.
The two dozen protesters, who slept in makeshift tents made of umbrellas duct-taped to tarps, said they plan to occupy the space until their demands are met.
“This is a living, breathing mass movement, in all its chaos and complexity,” read a statement from organizers, the Liberation Project, who added “more actions are likely to be planned in the near future.”
A tweet by the group Friday said, “This is a peaceful occupation; we will give no reason for the cops to enact violence upon us. We simply will occupy this space, ready to meet with the mayor & city council.”
Kenney said he supports the goals of the protesters but can’t make exceptions for those who break the law and create “a threat to public safety by blocking access to a building and setting up permanent encampments.”
Similar ICE protests have arisen elsewhere nationwide as a result of President Donald Trump‘s “zero-tolerance” illegal immigration policy.
Last month, federal authorities shut down an organized occupation at an ICE field office in Portland, Ore.
The agents gave eviction notices to protesters who blocked the ICE facility for a week, as part of its #OccupyICEPDX crusade.
The move followed a refusal by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler to have the protesters arrested.