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Residents of Huntington Beach defended their city and essentially showed hundreds of protesters the door.
Locals in the California seaside town clashed Sunday with demonstrators supporting Black Lives Matter and protesting the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. As crowds grew to more than 500 people late Sunday morning, the police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly and ordered protesters to disperse.
(Source: CBS News)
The demonstrators who converged on Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street in Huntington Beach were confronted by locals who made it clear they would not allow scenes playing out across the country to be repeated in their city.
Though the demonstration which began about 11:30 a.m. had been largely peaceful, as the size of the crowd grew, so did tensions.
“Huntington Beach is a very unified town,” resident Dean Rutherford told The Orange County Register. “We are not going to let them destroy our town.”
Happening right now in Huntington Beach Maga supporters showed up to clash with the protestors #racists where was this energy when they were protesting and saying it’s oppression to be asked to stay home and wear masks lol pic.twitter.com/7yiySg6W90
— Vv (@vivixanax) May 31, 2020
Many businesses along Main Street had boarded up their storefronts to protect from looting and vandalism which has been seen in abundance across U.S. cities following the death of Floyd, an unarmed black man who died last week after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck during the arrest. Video of the incident went viral, sparking demonstrations, protests and rioting in major cities across the country.
“Get the f–k outta here! This is our city and we are proud of it!” One Huntington Beach resident yelled at protesters in a video shared on Twitter.
Very fine people in #HuntingtonBeach pic.twitter.com/yCg5yoUvxW
— Rajani (L-CA) 🔔 #VoteGold (@86Rajani) May 31, 2020
Police nearby kept a watchful eye as protesters chanted George Floyd’s name and “Black lives matter,” soon drawing counter-protesters and local residents, some carrying American flags, into the crowd.
Spotted in the crowd working at calming tensions was retired American mixed martial artist and former UFC Champion Chuck Liddell
“It’s just terrible,” Liddell said. “Violence begets violence. Violence doesn’t help anybody.”
“We all know what happened was wrong. Everyone I know thinks it was wrong. It’s hard to watch. But this does not help. Destroying cities, destroying people, hurting people does not do any good for anybody.”
“Protest all you want, but just do it peacefully.”
Police asked that the crowd disperse after skirmishes broke out and many refused to unblock the road, KCAL reported.
“We’re asking people to disperse,” Huntington Beach police spokeswoman Angela Bennett told the outlet. “We have to get our people in place and follow through on the order.”
Huntington Beach protest deemed unlawful assembly. Antifa bussed in, tonight might get interesting. #defendHB pic.twitter.com/jxH0LOiB4R
— Newsom Is A Kook (@SharkSandwich6) May 31, 2020
Huntington Beach Police indicated that some arrests had been made and that many demonstrators seemed to have “planned violence” in the protests.
“Multiple weapons including cinder blocks, weights and rocks were located hidden in several of our alleys in the downtown area, indicating a precursor to planned violence,” police said in a statement.
When officers in riot gear arrived, Huntington Beach locals cheered according to videos posted on social media.
Police presence intensifies at #HuntingtonBeach #BlackLivesMatter protest – chants of “HB” and cheers greet them pic.twitter.com/DoUIrsXvUY
— kasia anderson (@kasiaanderson) May 31, 2020
HUNTINGTON BEACH RESIDENTS CHEER POLICEpic.twitter.com/S1lJN92S5G
— The_Real_Fly (@The_Real_Fly) May 31, 2020
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