Thursday, July 19, 2018
Politics

Police: Trump supporters pepper-sprayed by counter-protesters at California march

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — A scuffle broke out on a Southern California beach where supporters of President Donald Trump were marching when counter-protesters doused organizers with pepper spray, authorities said Saturday.

The violence erupted when the march of about 2,000 people at Bolsa Chica State Beach reached a group of about 30 counter-protesters, some of whom began spraying the irritant, said Capt. Kevin Pearsall of the California State Parks Police.

Three people were arrested on suspicion of illegal use of pepper spray and a fourth person was arrested on suspicion of assault and battery, he said.

Two people suffered minor injuries that didn't require medical attention, Pearsall said.

An anti-Trump protester who allegedly used the eye irritant was kicked and punched in the sand by a group of Trump supporters, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Counter-protesters said before the march began that they planned to try to stop the Trump supporters' progress with a "human wall."

Earlier this month, a rally in Berkeley, Calif., in support of Trump turned violent, and his supporters clashed with counter-protesters in several fights that led to the arrest of 10 people and left at least seven people injured.

There were several pro-Trump marches across the nation Saturday, with confrontations involving anti-Trump protesters reported at some.

More than 2,000 people turned out for the event staged on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, N.J. The event was mostly peaceful but there was a minor scuffle early on when some anti-Trump protesters tried to make their way through the crowd and were confronted by supporters of the president. However, undercover police officers immediately surrounded the anti-Trump group and walked them out of the crowd without further incident.

Seaside Heights police said there were no major issues during the rally and no arrests were made.

Borough Mayor Anthony Vaz had initially denied the request for a permit to stage the rally on the town's boardwalk, citing concerns about potential clashes with opposing groups. He asked the Trump supporters to move the rally elsewhere.

But it was eventually approved to avoid any potential legal issues.

"I'm here because Donald Trump is my hero and I'm trumping for him," Barbara Messano, of Toms River, told NJ.com. "I support him because he's not a politician. He's honest and a businessman, and I know he will do what's best for the country."

In Philadelphia, police said a man and a youth were cited for disorderly conduct but no arrests were reported as supporters and opponents of the president faced off. Scores of people gathered near Independence Hall at midday. They were opposed by anti-Trump protesters, many clad in black, but police kept the two groups apart.

Demonstrators supporting the president had planned to march down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to Eakins Oval in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Deputy Commissioner Joseph Sullivan said they were advised to stop around City Hall because of "concerns for their safety and for innocent people." Both groups dispersed shortly after 3 p.m.

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