One man was stabbed Saturday and at least one reporter was reportedly attacked during dueling demonstrations in downtown Los Angeles over the contentious issue of mandatory vaccinations against the coronavirus.
Los Angeles Police declared an unlawful assembly late Saturday afternoon, according to media reports. ABC7 also reported that the right-wing Proud Boys group was participating in the anti-vaccine demonstration and was protesting alleged vaccination tyranny.
Video from the scene showed the anti-vaccination crowd yelling at the other side, some who were filming the display, then attacking them, hollering among other things, “Unmask them!”
The department said no arrests had been made but an investigation was ongoing.
“We are aware of one male that was stabbed and is being treated by LAFD,” police tweeted at 3:15 p.m.
“We made one transport to a hospital (from the demonstrations) but I don’t have any patient condition information,” Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart said.
The wounded man collapsed at the intersection of First and Spring streets after being stabbed and at least one LAPD officer was seen trying to stop his bleeding before the LAFD arrived, the Los Angeles Times reported. The injured man was a reported member of the anti-vaccine group, the newspaper reported, adding that he was transported to a hospital in serious condition.
Veteran reporter Frank Stoltze of KPCC and LAist, was attacked in the park area outside City Hall. Stoltze later posted a message on Twitter saying, “Something happened to me today that’s never happened in 30 years of reporting. I was shoved, kicked and my eyeglasses were ripped off my face by a group of guys at a protest outside City Hall during an anti-vax recall Gavin Newsom and pro-Trump rally.”
LAPD Capt. Stacy Spell told Times reporters at the scene that a police report had been taken regarding the assault on Stoltze.
The “choose freedom march” began around 2 p.m. at City Hall to protest what organizers call “medical tyranny, mandatory vaccinations and vaccine passports.”
One hour earlier, a pro-vaccine group staged a counter-protest at the same location that organizers are calling “no safe space for fascists.”
The rallies came as vaccine mandates continue to proliferate across California.
The Los Angeles City Council voted earlier this week to have the city attorney draw up an ordinance requiring proof of at least partial vaccination to enter many public indoor spaces in the city, including restaurants, bars, gyms, concert venues, movie theaters and even retail establishments.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is gathering advice from experts over the next two weeks on a similar mandate.
On Friday, interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly announced that all Los Angeles Unified School District employees will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 15. The district previously was mandating only weekly testing for all students and staffers, regardless of vaccination status. That testing requirement will remain in place.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday announced a statewide requirement for all teachers and school employees in the state to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or submit to weekly testing. The Long Beach Unified School District, the second-largest district in Los Angeles County, announced the same policy earlier this week.
Los Angeles County is requiring its employees to get vaccinated, and many large private employers are doing the same.
And AEG, owner of many of the Southland’s major concert venues, said Thursday that fans will have to be vaccinated to attend shows at its facilities, including the Roxy, the El Rey Theatre, the Fonda Theatre, the Shrine Auditorium and the Coachella Music & Arts Festival in Indio.