A fight ended the third straight pride rally held in Modesto, Calif. on Saturday. The white nationalist, far-right group the Proud Boys organized the event — the Stanislaus County Straight Pride — in front of a Planned Parenthood building. Police eventually stopped the event after a fight led to a road closure.
The rally saw a counter-protest several blocks away put together by several local groups including MoPride and the Stanislaus Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, reported The Modesto Bee. Around 100 people came out to the “Stand Against Hate.”
“It’s the right answer for an anti-LGBT, racist group,” participant Francis Yangat told the outlet. “There’s no oppression on the heteronormative.”
Another attendee of the counter-protest said that he wasn’t surprised by the Proud Boys in Modesto. Jupiter Dalby, an organizer with the Central California LGBTQ Collective, said that local community members, the mayor, and the city council should put up a stronger fight against discrimination.
“They need to stand up for us,” he said. “They need to show up for us.”
Proud Boy members, a preacher, and right-wing supporters gathered at the Planned Parenthood around noon. A small number of counter-protesters stood on local corners.
The groups stayed away from each other until after 1 p.m., according to the Modesto Bee. A fight between the groups eventually broke out.
Modesto police arrived to find someone had deployed bear spray, officials said. Police arrested two people on misdemeanor charges. One faces charges of failure to disperse and resisting arrest. The other person faces a charge for fighting in public.
“We try to coordinate and prep for the worst and hope that everything remains peaceful,” police spokesperson Sharon Bear said. “If we have events like this and we are not prepared, then we didn’t plan ahead.”