Violence erupted at a Make America Great Again rally in Huntington Beach on Saturday when an anti-Trump protester allegedly doused the organizer of the event with pepper spray and was immediately set upon by a group of Trump supporters.
After spraying the march organizer, the man, wearing a black mask, was tackled by a group of flag-waving Trump supporters, who started punching and kicking him, according to witnesses at the scene.
The crowd then chased the man, who jumped over a fence and started running along Pacific Coast Highway, where he was detained by California Highway Patrol officers.
A handful of other counter-protesters fled the scene.
The noontime rally and march drew hundreds of flag-waving supporters of President Trump. They were marching at Bolsa Chica State Beach to support veterans, police and first-responders.
The event was slated to run from noon to 3 p.m. and is one of about 40 affiliated events scheduled nationwide throughout the day.
Despite expected heavy foot traffic, all parts of the beach will remain open, senior park aide Mark Riddlebarger said. He said the organizers have a permit.
Though the march bears Donald Trump‘s campaign slogan, and organizers elsewhere are making their support for the president quite clear, Jennifer Sterling, a Laguna Beach resident and one of the organizers of the march, said the local gathering, though pro-Trump, would have a different focus. Participants would be wearing blue ribbons to support law enforcement and donations will be collected for veterans, she said.
“We want to wave our American flag and be patriotic,” Sterling said.
California State Parks Capt. Kevin Pearsall said his department would have about three dozen officers monitoring the march, and will collaborate with Huntington Beach police in case it spills from the beach to the surrounding area.
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1:20 p.m.: This article was updated with new information about violence erupting at rally.
This article was originally posted at 8:10 a.m.