Source: Jeffrey Cawood
Police declared an unlawful assembly in Beverly Hills on Saturday afternoon when a physical altercation ended the USA Freedom Rally, where thousands had gathered to support the re-election of President Donald J. Trump.
An estimated 4,000 people met at Beverly Gardens Park, near the iconic sign bearing the city’s name. The location has recently become the site of weekly pro-Trump demonstrations.
Law enforcement said the crowd was mostly peaceful until dozens of counter-protesters showed up and confronted some rallygoers. The anti-Trump group had organized at another city park about a mile away.
Video from the scene shows a pack of black bloc participants attacking a man on Santa Monica Boulevard. Police quickly broke up the scuffle, which reportedly injured a Trump supporter. Beverly Hills police issued the advisory about 2:30 pm, a half-hour before the event was scheduled to begin.
“Approximately 40 protesters did assemble at Roxbury Park and then marched to the USA Freedom Rally,” said Beverly Hills police Lt. Max Subin. “The protester from Roxbury Park got into a violent fight with a pro-Trump protester. It was at the point that an unlawful assembly was declared by the Incident Commander and the Roxbury Park protesters did leave and march back to Roxbury Park.”
Police said there were no arrests, according to City News Service.
The Los Angeles Times has called Beverly Hills “an unlikely outpost for Trump supporters,” writing, “Trump is deeply unpopular in California, particularly on Los Angeles’ affluent Westside.” However, the outlet acknowledges the ongoing series of rallies supporting the president have attracted thousands of Trump enthusiasts in recent weeks.
The L.A. Times reports:
Nearly four months ago, Beverly Hills resident Shiva Bagheri began organizing the rallies in part to dispel what she called misrepresentations of Trump supporters in the media.
“They think that we’re all white supremacists. And that’s just ridiculous,” said Bagheri, a single mother who was born in Iran and works as a dance instructor.
At last Saturday’s rally, the crowd numbered between 2,500 and 3,00, according to a Beverly Hills city spokesman. Signs and shirts announced a kaleidoscope of identities in support of Trump, including members of the Latino, Jewish, Vietnamese and LBGTQ communities. Some traveled from out of state or out of the country to attend.
Beverly Hills Police Chief Dominick Rivetti announced last week that the city would go on “full alert” beginning on Halloween and continuing through election week due to possible social unrest. He said world-famous Rodeo Drive would be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, describing the precautions as “a proactive approach to ensure a safe community for residents, businesses, and visitors.”
Meanwhile, City Hall officials have reportedly encouraged businesses in Beverly Hills’ high-end shopping area to board up in preparation for potential problems. The recommendations come after looters and vandals targeted the vicinity in May, when cops used tear gas to disperse an unlawful assembly stemming from nationwide protests against alleged racially-biased policing.
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