A small group of antiabortion protesters marched Saturday to the notorious West Philadelphia abortion clinic once operated by Kermit Gosnell, where they chanted "DNC, defend unborn children" as a plane flew overhead carrying that message on an aerial banner.
The group of 30 opposing the candidacy of Hillary Clinton was the first of many protest and advocacy groups scheduled to take to the streets in the run-up to the Democratic National Convention, which begins Monday.
Among the speakers was Catherine Foster, a Washington-based attorney who was in Cleveland for the Republican National Convention last week.
"We have the most pro-life platform in decades," she said of the GOP.
Clenard Childress of LEARN, an African American, evangelical, antiabortion group, said it is hypocritical for Planned Parenthood to stand with Black Lives Matter, given the number of African Americans "targeted by the abortion industry."
"You're a hypocrite unless you deal with the 1,700 African American children killed each day by abortion," he said.
Gosnell's Women's Medical Society clinic at 3801 Lancaster Ave. was the scene of gruesome late-term abortions performed on women, many of them poor and minority, for years before authorities shut it down in 2011.
Gosnell was charged with eight counts of murder - seven involving newborns whose spinal cords were cut with scissors after they were born alive - and numerous felony counts of performing illegal abortions beyond Pennsylvania's limit of 24-weeks' gestation. He was convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of three of the newborns and of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a woman who died after an abortion.
Gosnell, 75, is serving a prison sentence of life plus 30 years.
The case did not point to a lack of regulations but rather city and state failures to inspect the clinic and enforce existing laws.
"We must never, ever forget what happened here," said obstetrician-gynecologist Monique Ruberu of Philadelphia. Without mentioning Republican nominee Donald Trump by name, Ruberu said: "Only one candidate is pro-life. . . . We must vote for life."
Many cars honked in support of the rally outside the clinic, which has been a common gathering place for antiabortion demonstrations. At one point, two teenagers walked through the group urging "Vote Donald Trump!" One woman booed loudly from across the street.
The protesters gathered at the Newman Center on the University of Pennsylvania campus for a Catholic Mass before the rally; they marched about five blocks to the Gosnell clinic.
On man carried a poster with a quote by children's author Dr. Seuss: "A person's a person, no matter how small." Walking in between the crowd was a man carrying a cross.
Also on Saturday, and on the other side of the political aisle, state Democrats protested against Trump outside Republican House candidate Brian Fitzpatrick's ice cream social in Levittown.
Demonstrations are expected to kick into high gear around the city Sunday and grow in number headed into the convention, which runs Monday through Thursday. More than 30 demonstrations are planned, many in support of Clinton's primary challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Temperatures will remain sweltering and the city said Saturday that medics, misting tents, and bottled water will be available in FDR Park.
Medics also will follow marches, and sprinkler caps will be attached to fire hydrants along Broad Street.
In the extreme heat, city officials warned demonstrators not to camp in the city - which is prohibited by ordinance, and also ill-advised for heat-related safety reasons, officials said.
A sampling of some of the larger demonstrations include a March for Bernie from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday starting at the Municipal Services Building plaza, and a 5,000-person environmental march, also on Sunday, from City Hall to Independence Hall.
On Monday, the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign will march down Broad Street starting at 2 p.m. to raise awareness for homelessness and poverty in the city.
Sanders demonstrations are planned all day Tuesday at the Municipal Services Building as well as at FDR Park. The Black DNC Resistance March to rally against abusive policing will kick off at 15th and Diamond at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
On Wednesday, a Ride DNC bike ride launches at 6:30 p.m. from Broad and Cheltenham.
Several events in support of Sanders and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein are slated for FDR Park on Thursday when Clinton is slated to accept the nomination. A group has pledged to protest Friday on Independence Mall, where the presumptive nominee will hold a rally.