Hundreds of people gathered Thursday night at LOVE Park for a moment of silence in response to the turmoil in Ferguson, Mo., that followed the shooting death by police of an unarmed black teen.
Protests have roiled the Midwestern community since Saturday's fatal shooting of Michael Brown, 18. The confrontation between police and protesters intensified Wednesday night, and the police were widely criticized for displaying an intimidating militarized presence and using overly aggressive tactics.
In contrast, Philadelphia police officers kept their distance from the peaceful assembly in Center City, which also included a march up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
"We don't want people to feel boxed in and intimidated," said Chief Inspector Joseph Sullivan, explaining the light police presence. About 10 officers on bicycles were ready behind a nearby 7-Eleven just in case trouble erupted.