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Several people were injured, including three police officers, in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, after a small group of Trump administration supporters who had planned a protest against Twitter and other social media companies was assaulted by a larger group of counter-protesters.

The event, which began around 1 p.m. at United Nations Plaza near Civic Center, turned ugly within a few minutes.

With only about a dozen members of the group “Team Save America” there to protest what they describe as social media censorship of conservative ideas, more than 100 counter protesters began clashing with several of the conservative activists.

“Opposition demonstrators began throwing glass bottles, plastic bottles filled with unknown liquid, metal cans and eggs” at the rally participants and police officers, according to a statement Saturday evening by the San Francisco Police Department. They rushed a line of metal barricades, and when one of the rally organizers interacted with the crowd, a man wearing all black clothing and a black face mask punched him in the mouth, knocking out at least one tooth.

Some of the conservative activists wore “Make America Great Again” Trump hats and carried pro-police “Thin Blue Line” flags and U.S. flags.

“The rally became so violent in nature it was declared a public safety hazard and was shut down,” police said. The organizer and several supporters were escorted by police from the area, but during their attempt to exit, the counter protesters clashed with several of them.

An Associated Press photographer took photographs of one man in at Trump T-shirt being taken away in an ambulance with his leg in a brace.

Three police officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries when they were hit by pepper spray and other caustic chemicals, police said. One officer was taken to the hospital for treatment. By 9 p.m. Saturday, no arrests had been made, police said. Officers also said they did not know how many protesters had been injured. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that six people, including the three officers, had suffered injuries.

The rally organizer, Philip Anderson, of Mesquite, Texas, is a Black conservative whose account was suspended on Twitter in May. On his Facebook page, he has claimed that “I exposed New York City hospitals for murdering coronavirus patients on purpose,” and “the only reason why Donald Trump is blamed for anything & everything is because his skin is white,” and “we can’t even finish the border wall to stop illegal immigration because the Dems love illegals and watching Americans get raped/murdered/kidnapped.”

In his original promotions for the rally, Anderson said that Enrique Tarrio, leader of the far-right group the Proud Boys, who have engaged in violent protests at numerous rallies, would be attending, which reportedly drew the attention of Berkeley Antifa and Antifa International.

On Saturday, after the original clash, Anderson attempted to begin the rally.

“You knocked a Black man’s teeth out,” he told the crowd, which stood behind a line of riot-clad police. “You knocked my teeth out. But you’re hear saying Black lives matter. That makes no sense.”

But as eggs and bottles flew toward the small staging area, police pulled the plug on the event.

As police escorted Anderson and his supporters to a parking garage, a video posted online showed several counter demonstrators calling them racists and saying they supported the Proud Boys.

“There are no Proud Boys here,” Anderson said. “And Proud Boys are not racist.”

Police officers to to hold off counter-protesters as conservative activists stage a rally in San Francisco on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. About a dozen pro-Trump demonstrators were met by several hundred counter-protesters. (AP Photo/Noah Berger) 

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Author: Paul Rogers

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