About 10 men who identified themselves as the Proud Boys, a far-right, self-described “western chauvinist” group, arrived outside the FOP Lodge 5 headquarters as Vice President Mike Pence’s speech at the Northeast Philadelphia venue came to a close Thursday.
Pence’s speech — which was part of a series of stops in eastern Pennsylvania Thursday — attracted a sizeable crowd of police supporters, as well as a smaller contingent of protesters outside the union hall.
The group stood in the street and shouted at Black Lives Matter protesters. They wore black and yellow shirts, hats that said “Proud Boys,” and waved the group’s banner in the air.
A few Black men who were attending in support of Black Lives Matter argued with them as the Proud Boys members shouted “all lives matter” and yelled at female protesters across the street.
Then, as the group was arguing, a mass of motorcyclists rode through the streets, led by a Dodge Charger with sirens and flashing lights, which imitated a police vehicle but was not marked as one. The streets vibrated from the rumble of the bikes.
Once the motorcycle group passed, police opened up the barricade and allowed pro-police ralliers to walk through and join the FOP’s “Back the Blue” after-party at the lodge. By 7:30 p.m., most of the Trump and police supporters had dissipated from street and into the gathering.
One of the men declared “Proud Boys, we out!” Then the group could be seen walking through the barrier to join the gathering, which was advertised as serving beer and snacks.
At the party, some police and supporters stood outside the lodge, while many gathered inside near the bar, drinking beer, eating and talking. A few men wearing Proud Boys shirts and hats mingled with the group, and one held a Proud Boys flag.