It got a little nuts in Vancouver this afternoon.
Right wingers gathered in Esther Short Park shortly after noon Sunday for a pro-Donald Trump rally and were met by dozens of protesters, mostly self-described anarchists, looking to make a little noise in opposition to the country's "fascist" president and his supporters. A handful of them were arrested. The Vancouver Police Department, unlike their counterpart on the other side of the river, did not wear riot gear.
Here's the Columbian story on the event. Here are my pictures and videos.
Joey Gibson from "Patriot Prayer" organized the rally. They booked the park, next to the weekend market and playground, and cordoned it off with a flimsy plastic fence.
Joey Gibson, who organized the Trump rally today in Vancouver pic.twitter.com/nrOR3PH3fQ— doug brown (@dougbrown8) April 2, 2017
Right wing paramilitary group the Three Percenters (often spelled III%) provided security, blocking protesters from entering the fenced area.
The "American Freedom" motorcycle association (not a "gang," as they were quick to point out, unprompted) rolled in from Tacoma. Many of them had confederate flag insignia because, well, it's probably not too hard to connect the dots.
Bikers with “American Freedom” vests/stickers pulling up to Trump rally in Vancouver pic.twitter.com/clTtueoR08— doug brown (@dougbrown8) April 2, 2017
Protesters, including many self-described anarchists, quickly arrived. Here's Michael Rhodes explaining why:
Michael Rhodes, a protester, explains why they’re here pic.twitter.com/vUUi64stBU— doug brown (@dougbrown8) April 2, 2017
It didn't take long until a cop, holding a cup of coffee, unsuccessfully tried to arrest a protester for swearing. "You can't swear in the park," the officer said.
Vancouver cops just tried to arrest an anarchist: “You can’t swear in the park,” the officer said. pic.twitter.com/wGGg9diHNo— doug brown (@dougbrown8) April 2, 2017
People on opposite sides of the fence yelled at each other for a while.
Yelling on both sides of the fence pic.twitter.com/L4a1DhaNaf— doug brown (@dougbrown8) April 2, 2017
Joey Gibson, with a gun on his belt, started the event by telling the Trump supporters to not engage with the protesters. He'd then go on to rant about "social justice warriors" and Hillary Clinton ("She's a criminal! Lock her up already!"). Then more speakers took the podium using standard election-cycle Republican talking points: "Illegals" are bad, political correctness is bad, Hillary Clinton is bad, God is good, etc.
A prayer at the Trump rally pic.twitter.com/NUIBw2WIPv— doug brown (@dougbrown8) April 2, 2017
The first "anarchist," according to my observation, got arrested around 1:30. I didn't see what he's accused of doing.
Not long after, it got a little out of hand. I saw a couple anarchists trying to rush past the Three Percenters doing security. The cops made a bunch of arrests. Anarchists tossed smoke canisters inside the rally.
Chaos at the Trump rally in Vancouver. A couple anarchists tried to rush through the gate. Arrest, smoke canisters thrown. pic.twitter.com/IuNeahG7K3— doug brown (@dougbrown8) April 2, 2017
Part 2 of the chaos at the Trump rally in Vancouver. anarchists tossed smoke canisters. pic.twitter.com/MGZTQDlpxG— doug brown (@dougbrown8) April 2, 2017
Back at the rally, both sides continued yelling at each other from across the fence.
There continued to be a lot of yelling and near-fights throughout the afternoon. A few more lefties got arrested for things I did not see. Everything wrapped up around 3. Anarchists burned a Trump flag.