Clad in nearly all black and chanting for Proud Boys to go home, antifa counter-protesters faced-off Saturday against pro-Trump demonstrators, who rallied at California’s Capitol for the fifth-straight weekend.
Several violent clashes punctuated the standoff in downtown Sacramento, including at least one beating carried out by a group of antifa counter-protesters. Demonstrators also hurled glass bottles and fireworks at Trump supporters and shattered car windows. Police responded at one point by firing projectiles at point-blank range.
Trump supporter Judy Roux returned to her car to find the front tires slashed — but said she wouldn’t be deterred from attending Capitol demonstrations in the future. “We just wouldn’t park with any [Trump signs]” on the car, she said.
During previous protests, Trump supporters and Proud Boys — a far-right group founded by white nationalists — roamed downtown’s streets, seeking conflict and violently attacking counter-protesters. On Saturday, it appeared the antifa demonstrators rivaled the number of those backing the president.
Neither group acquired protest permits, although the Sacramento Police Department again set up barriers on 10th Street, separating antifa protesters from the pro-Trump group, which had congregated facing the Capitol’s west steps. The counter-protesters criticized law enforcement, saying police and California Highway Patrol officers protected the Trump supporters.
The antifa group started the day in Midtown’s Fremont Park, seldom the site of protests. The more than 100 demonstrators chanted their goal to keep people safe from hate groups then took to the streets and marched toward the Capitol.
The procession was well-organized, trailed by a vehicle with a “medic” sign and escorted by several cars, which created a barrier to protect the marchers.
Antifa demonstrators, which Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert has referred to as a “domestic terrorist” group, became confrontational at L and 10th streets, throwing glass bottles and launching fireworks at Trump supporters waving Make America Great Again flags.
At one point, a woman toting a megaphone screamed at Sacramento Police officers, calling them “pig scum” and chastising them for not arresting the counter-protesters.
When some anti-Trump demonstrators attempted to tear down a barrier separating the two groups, Sacramento police fired projectile weapons at them at point-blank range.
A police department spokesperson told CapRadio that officers used pepperball irritants on Saturday, but was unable to say if other rounds, such as bean bag projectiles, were shot at counter-protesters.
Sacramento Police shooting weapons point blank at demonstrators.— Nick Miller (@NickMiller510) December 5, 2020
Not sure what these guns are; will try to find out. pic.twitter.com/LfnFswVJyq
Antifa protesters made their way down N Street, smashing car windows and slashing tires. A group in all black, carrying batons and other hand-held weapons, followed several Trump demonstrators into Capitol Park. After dodging a baton thrown at his head, one Trump demonstrator sprayed what appeared to be mace at the approaching group.
Another group of antifa protesters beat two Trump supporters, a man and woman, in front of a building on N Street. CapRadio witnessed several protesters in all-black knock the man down and stomp on him. The woman sprayed what appeared to be mace at the group, and a counter-protester threw a bottle at her head. A larger crowd began to gather, and a few antifa protesters tried to hold others back.
When the man stood and staggered away, a number of counter-demonstrators swarmed, knocking him to the ground, kicking and punching him, and pushing the woman to the ground. One antifa protester swung a baton at the man and woman amid the mayhem.
A few violent incidents in downtown Sac today during the protest. One stood out in particular.— Scott Rodd (@SRodd_CPR) December 6, 2020
This man+woman walking from the Trump demonstration. Didn't catch start of confrontation.
2 videos edited together—I thought it was over after the first skirmish. Unfortunately not. pic.twitter.com/mugXr4UW9n
A Sacramento police spokesperson says there were no arrests, although officers broke up several altercations and detectives are investigating vandalism. A CHP spokesperson says officers did not make any arrests, as well.
This story has been updated to include comment from a CHP spokesperson.
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