Police in Los Angeles arrested dozens Saturday when an anti-trans protest against a Koreatown spa with trans-inclusive policies turned violent.
It’s the second weekend that such violence has broken out beside Wi Spa. The business came under the media spotlight after a cisgender woman complained about a trans woman in the women’s section of the spa.
Far-right protesters have supported a boycott of the spa and women protested with signs that read “protect female spaces” and “it’s worse in women’s shelters,” reports The Guardian. Men wearing helmets and masks that covered their faces participated, too. People also chanted about baseless claims of pedophilia.
Some protesters even chanted “Save our children,” a chant often used by QAnon conspiracy theorists. It’s an example of how trans exclusion has merged with strains of far-right politics.
The Guardian reported that some anti-trans protesters even wore shirts calling for the murder of leftists, which referenced right-wing death squads in 1970s Chile.
A counterdemonstration formed against the anti-trans rights group.
The Los Angeles police said several had been arrested for failing to disperse.
In a video posted to Twitter, police shot a rubber bullet at a woman in close range after she’s heard saying “Don’t shoot!”
Right-wing protesters chased down Guardian journalist Lois Beckett when she attempted to interview them. The mob pushed her to the ground before she was able to cross a police line for protection, Beckett reported.
In another incident, police can be seen in a video taking away a trans flag from a pro-trans rights demonstrator.
The original complaint may have been staged, according to reporting by the Los Angeles Blade. In that video, a customer is seen complaining about the trans-inclusive policy while an employee reiterates the spa’s nondiscrimination policy.
One supporter who attended on behalf of the trans community, Amber Hooper, told The Guardian it was aggravating to see that “the people who talk about law and order are against the laws that protect trans people.”
“Trans rights are human rights,” Hooper said.