Police said the Huntington Beach Police Department declared an illegal gathering shortly before 3 pm Sunday “to disperse an angry crowd.”
Huntington Beach, California – Black Lives Matter and other anti-racism protesters appeared at the California sidewalk on Sunday to confront the “White Lives Matter” leaders, several news organizations reported. In all, 12 people were arrested and an illegal gathering was declared.
The Huntington Beach Police Department declared the gathering illegal shortly before 3 p.m. “to disperse a wild crowd,” said Lt. Brian Smith.
The Los Angeles Times Reports said that several hundred people appeared in the arena around Huntington Beach Pier on Sunday afternoon ahead of the “WLM” rally, scheduled to begin at 1 pm local time.
KNX reported that Black Lives Matter protesters occupied Pier Square to prevent any demonstrations by the WLM group. The BLM crowd numbered around 200. Huntington Beach Police have arrested several people for breaching noise, interfering with police, and one person for alleged possession of weapons.
The protests that began at 11 am were largely peaceful, but the differences between the two sides began after 2 pm
The global women’s movement rally was part of a nationwide group of protests planned in a few cities across the country to combat what organizers see as a threat to the white race from multiculturalism and what they call the “anti-white” bias in the media, government and education.
The group was promoting the events through the social media platform Telegram. Attendees were encouraged to wear masks to “remain anonymous.”
In the days leading up to the rallies, Huntington Beach Police and Orange County police officials said they would come out forcefully to keep the peace in the event of a potential confrontation between attendees from both sides.
Smith said 12 people have been arrested on suspicion of various charges ranging from violations of municipal law to fighting in public places to various weapons crimes.
Things started to get hotter after 1pm, as many people carried American flags and banners supporting former President Donald Trump in a raunchy verbal exchange with BLM supporters.
Several anti-Nazi protesters chanted, “Go home!”
According to a video posted on Twitter, at least one of the movement’s supporters was surrounded and violently pushed by anti-racism protesters.
He said Huntington Beach was prepared for the event.
“The Huntington Beach Police Department has deployed significant resources throughout Downtown Huntington Beach,” Smith said. This included uniformed officers and cavalry officers from the Regional Law Enforcement Unit in Orange County, who were supported by Huntington Beach Police Department helicopter, unmanned aerial surveillance aircraft, and numerous support personnel.
The mayor has pledged compound patrol units to help with crowd control and law enforcement, said Carrie Brown, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Police Department. Brown said investigators were also monitoring chatter online to see if there would be similar protests elsewhere.
The events come at a time when anti-Asian bigotry is on the rise during the pandemic, and communities including Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Villa Park have been covered with posts announcing the Ku Klux Klan.
Huntington Beach provisional chief of police, Julian Harvey, posted the following statement on Facebook on Wednesday:
The Huntington Beach Police Department is aware of the events planned in Huntington Beach on April 11, 2021, and is taking measures to ensure public safety while preserving the ability of participants to exercise their constitutional rights regardless of message or ideology.
“We hope that such events provide an opportunity for unity rather than a platform for spreading hatred, bigotry and division. Huntington Beach stands proudly alongside the values of diversity, equity and inclusion.
“To this end, the men and women of the Huntington Beach Police Department will perform their duties professionally and impartially. I can assure you that we will not tolerate any acts of violence or criminal behavior intended to intimidate others.”
On Saturday, Orange County’s NAACP released a statement explaining its opposition to the counter-protest planned by the Black Lives Matter, with some of its supporters citing concerns about potential violence.
“The Orange County NAACP does not support the upcoming Huntington Beach counter-protest against the White Lives Matter Rally on Sunday, April 11, 2021,” the statement said.
“While OC NAACP praises efforts of peaceful protest across the country, we do not endorse this particular event and seek to clarify our position on this issue. Our prayers are for the safety of all individuals, and we will never impede anyone’s right to freedom of expression. Recent articles linking our organization to this. The event is realistically incorrect. “