Three people were arrested after a clash broke out Saturday between “straight pride” demonstrators and rainbow-clad protesters in Modesto, California.
A rally organized by the National Straight Pride Coalition outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic turned violent before it could start when a member of the right-wing Proud Boys group tried to push past the police line that separated him from about 150 protesters, according to the Modesto Bee.
Protesters threw a water bottle in retaliation, and then a firework was shot off and a separate blast was heard as the situation deteriorated.
Modesto police spokeswoman Sharon Bear told the Bee that a smoke bomb ignited a bush, and it caused police to declare the event an “unlawful gathering.”
Ms. Bear also said that the straight pride demonstrators who were involved in the scrum weren’t part of the National Straight Pride Coalition’s rally, which was planned for noon.
Police in riot gear began firing pepper spray bullets and bean bag guns into the crowd of protesters, Ms. Bear said, with the Bee reporting that two protesters were injured as a result.
Two straight pride demonstrators and one protester were arrested for “failure to disperse.” Ms. Bear told the newspaper that none of those arrested were locals to Stanislaus County.
Last year’s straight pride rally ended with two arrests after it had devolved into violence as well, the paper said.
The National Straight Pride Coalition says on its website that it stands for God, the natural nuclear family, Caucasians, Christianity and nationalism.
Chiropractor Don Grundmann, founder and director of the group, told city council members in Modesto that his organization was a “totally peaceful racist group” ahead of its first rally in 2019, according to multiple outlets.