HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) — Huntington Beach police Sunday declared an unlawful assembly after scuffles broke out between “White Lives Matter” protesters and Black Lives Matter counter-demonstrators near the pier.
Video shows at least two men carrying Trump 2020 flags and one going head-to-head with the counter-protesters who then surrounded him and ripped his flag down. A small scuffle broke out before police intervened and officers confiscated the man’s flag and took him into custody.READ MORE: California's Mask Mandate May Also End On June 15
“This event initially started because people were going around Huntington Beach and Newport throwing around KKK flyers,” Tory Johnson, founder of Black Lives Matter Huntington Beach, said.
Photos posted to social media showed the flyers with the words, “white lives do matter,” and called for “white civil rights.”
“I’m disgusted that this is still happening,” Lisa Forrest said.
“No one is discounting a white life because they are saying other lives matter,” Lezlie Kaner said.
According to police, Black Lives Matter demonstrators began gathering at about 11 a.m. in the area of Pier Plaza. Officers met with the organizers of the rally to talk about “applicable laws and regulations.”READ MORE: LA Begins Process To Make Al Fresco Outdoor Dining Program Permanent
Then, at 1 p.m. — the scheduled time for a “White Lives Matter” protest advertised on social media — police said a second group began forming on the opposite site of Pacific Coast Highway, across from where the other demonstration was happening.
“Shortly thereafter, small disturbances began breaking out requiring police intervention,” police said in a statement. “A large group of participants became unruly, requiring the declaration of an unlawful assembly.”
That declaration was made shortly before 3 p.m. for the area of 5th Street and Walnut Avenue, in an effort to “disperse an unruly crowd.”
Police said the crowd left the area following the declaration, “effectively ending the event.”
Huntington Beach Police Department Lt. Brian Smith said the department was unable to identify an organizer or leader of the “White Lives Matter” protest.
According to police, there were about 500 people present during the event, and 12 people were arrested on various charges ranging from municipal code violations to fighting in public and weapons offenses.MORE NEWS: Pedestrian Killed After Being Struck By Subway Train In Westlake District
The “White Lives Matter” rally was believed to be part of a nationally coordinated group of white supremacist protests planned across the country in various cities.