Karine Jean-Pierre
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Violent Clashes Erupt at California Pride Festival

Fighting at Riverside, Calif. Pride

The Inland Empire Pride festival in Riverside, Calif., which was held on Sunday, was disrupted when far-right extremists demonstrated outside the event venue. Violent clashes erupted between protesters and those attending the festival with some individuals arrested.

An anti-LGBTQ extremist, Chris Reyes, who has been active in the local community led the protest, and before the event ended, he would be pepper sprayed, bloodied, and arrested. The violence from Sunday's event can be seen in a video posted to its YouTube account by News2Share, a source for independent journalism content.

It was the first time in 12 years that a local LGBTQ+ Pride event occurred, according to Riverside Press-Enterprise.

The event was opposed by conservatives, as has been the case with other LGBTQ+ events across the country. The opposition was so intense the paper reports that extra security was brought in to protect the festival's participants. 

As with other recent events, the online outrage drew extreme far-right troublemakers who feed off the rampant bigotry, resulting in clashes.  

Far-right demonstrators have targeted the Riverside festival and other Pride events throughout the year. On their way to disrupt an Idaho Pride event, dozens of members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front were arrested in June. Many far-right groups have also targeted drag story hours at libraries.

As part of its mission, the Inland Empire Pride festival is dedicated to providing a safe and fully inclusive environment where communities can explore LGBTQ+ issues and history, celebrate their true selves, honor those who had come before and sacrificed, and bring attention to the communities of today's lived experience, according to the organizer's website.

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