A “free speech rally” was held at the United Nations Plaza on Saturday. Some demonstrators wore red ‘Make America Great Again’ Trump campaign hats and carried pro-police ‘Thin Blue Line’ flags, as well as US flags. The activists came to decry what they call censorship of conservative views and stories by social media giants, like San Francisco-based Twitter.
Counter-protesters rushed to the scene as well, quickly outnumbering their rivals. Carrying makeshift shields and ‘Smash fascism’ banners, they threw plastic and glass bottles, and heckled the conservative rally organizer, Philip Anderson, as he was trying to make a speech.
Videos posted on social media show loud activists trailing Anderson, chanting “Get the f**k out!” and “You’re not welcome here!” as the man was going to the stage. At one point, a black-clad man suddenly jumped on Anderson, delivering two powerful punches to his face.
Anderson, who was covering his mouth after the attack, was then forced to climb over a barricade to escape the crowd.
Shortly after the attack, Anderson posted photos of his bloody mouth with a front tooth missing and another hanging loosely. He wrote that Antifa assaulted him “for no reason.”
In a video apparently filmed from a hospital bed, Anderson addressed Trump’s rival in the presidential race, former Vice President Joe Biden. “I wanna ask you, do you still think, after seeing this, that they’re just an idea? Okay, I want you to answer that question, Joe Biden,” he said, referring to a statement Biden made during a televised debate with Trump last month. When asked by Trump to condemn the violence by Antifa members, Biden claimed that Antifa was “an idea, not an organization.”
Other scuffles broke out at the United Nations Plaza as well, with one video showing an alleged Antifa member hitting a person with something resembling a baseball bat. According to local media, at least one Trump supporter was taken away in an ambulance.
San Francisco Police said several people, including three officers, were injured during the event. Officers suffered from pepper spray and “caustic chemicals,” according to a statement.
At the same time in Washington DC, a young Trump supporter claimed she was assaulted by Black Lives Matter activists for bringing a ‘Trump 2020’ flag to the Women’s March. Isabella DeLuca posted a photo of herself in a cervical collar with a bruised face and lip
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