Another pro-Trump rally in downtown Sacramento on Saturday turned violent when demonstrators squared-off with counter-protesters.
Trump supporters gathered on the west side of the state Capitol to protest the results of the presidential election and criticize California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest round of COVID-19 restrictions.
Dozens of Proud Boys joined the demonstration. The self-described “western chauvinist” group has been labeled a “right-wing extremist organization” by the Anti-Defamation League, espousing “misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic and anti-immigration” ideals. Some Proud Boys claim these labels are inaccurate.
Law enforcement formed a barricaded perimeter around the rally the size of two blocks to the west of the Capitol. Organizers did not have a permit for the event, according to the California Highway Patrol’s permit calendar.
Sacramento Police Lt. Marnie Stigerts told CapRadio the barrier was intended to keep the pro-Trump demonstrators and counter-protesters separated.
“[It’s] for the safety of the groups, as well as the public in general, as well as our officers,” she said.
During the rally, Proud Boys escorted people they didn't want to attend to the law enforcement barricade, where police opened the entrance, directed the person to the other side and would not let them back in. CapRadio observed several men force a woman to leave after they discovered she was streaming the event on social media. One man made physical contact with her.
Law enforcement’s effort to keep pro-Trump demonstrators inside the perimeter failed. A group marched from the Capitol to nearby Cesar Chavez Plaza, where they encountered a smaller group of counter-protesters.
Yelling between the two sides turned into scuffles, which gave way to a larger brawl that lasted a few minutes.
According to Sacramento police, one person was arrested on “assault related charges.” Officers declared an unlawful assembly at Cesar Chavez Plaza and issued a dispersal order.
A member of the Proud Boys, addressing the crowd during the demonstration, said the organization’s role was to defend “people like you that come out to rallies.”
But the Proud Boys also played the aggressor. CapRadio observed one Proud Boy take a swing at a member of the press for filming him. Other members, after the demonstrators returned to the barricaded area near the Capitol, remained outside the perimeter and instigated counter-protesters and passersby. Several chased after one counter-protester. Some also followed and taunted observers from the National Lawyers Guild.
Multiple Proud Boys declined CapRadio’s requests for an on-the-record interview.
The demonstrations and conflict in Sacramento comes after weeks of protests at state Capitols across the country, including in neighboring Nevada, as President Trump has claimed without evidence that Democrats stole the election.
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