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Police on 40th and Walnut break up a large crowd of West Philadelphians who become unruly. Reports of the cause of the unrest range from an assaulted police officer to the crowds forming because of warmer weather. Credit: Alex Remnick

Large crowds of a few hundred high-school aged West Philadelphia residents gathered at 40th and Walnut streets Saturday night before being dispersed by police.

One person reportedly assaulted a police officer, according to a member of the Philadelphia Police Department, though this report was contradicted by other police officers. Other officers said large crowds of people rushed out of the Bridge movie theater at 40th and Walnut streets. However, an employee at the Bridge contradicted this statement, saying the crowds were outside only.

Division of Public Safety spokeswoman Stef Cella wrote in an e-mail that about 10 juveniles were arrested for disorderly conduct. She attributed the crowds to the warm weather.

She added that the crowds were not related to Penn Relays, which ended Saturday afternoon.

Police blocked off Walnut Street, heading west at 39th Street, and 40th Street, between Walnut and Market streets. The McDonalds at 40th and Walnut streets was closed.

The crowds of people - which gathered as early as 9 p.m. and were still being dispersed a few hours later - were being told to move away from the area, and Penn students were encouraged to stay away from the corner, students reported.

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