Thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump holding a rally near Huntington Beach clashed with counter-protesters and four people were arrested.
Multiple fights broke out and at least one Trump supporter was doused with pepper spray when pro-Trump demonstrators marching along Bolsa Chica State Beach on Saturday encountered a small group opposed to the Republican president who had gathered to denounce the rally.
Four counter-protesters were arrested, three for illegal use of pepper spray and one for assault and battery, Kevin Pearsall, a spokesman for the California State Parks Police said on Saturday evening.
The fights appeared to start in the early afternoon when around a dozen anti-Trump protesters dressed in all black refused to move from a bike path to allow a larger group of pro-Trump supporters taking part in the Make America Great Again rally to pass. The confrontation escalated into a fight with more skirmishes quickly breaking out.
At least one person was pepper-sprayed by an anti-Trump protester, Pearsall said. Park police estimated that 2,000 Trump supporters flocked to the stretch of coastline located south of Huntington Beach. Around 20 counter-protesters attended, Pearsall said.
Video footage from social media uploaded to the Los Angeles Times’ website showed a chaotic scene with men fighting in the sand and a group of around 20 Trump supporters, some carrying Trump flags, chasing a man in a black mask away from the beach and on to a freeway. The man was stopped by members of the California Highway Patrol, the newspaper said.
The masked man had used pepper spray on a female rally organizer and was set upon by a group of Trump supporters, the newspaper reported.
The Saturday rally, one of several held nationwide, was organized by supporters of President Donald Trump who also wanted to show their respect for veterans, law enforcement and first responders.
Police said no arrests were reported at a smaller event in Hollywood where about 100 people gathered near Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
On Saturday, Trump praised his supporters in a tweet:
“Thanks you for all of the Trump Rallies today. Amazing support. We will all MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
Reuters contributed to this article.
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