Police used pepper spray and blast balls on rival demonstrations in Seattle on Sunday, just one day after violence broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia, leaving one dead and dozens injured.
Sunday’s demonstrations took place less than a mile from each other, as the pro-Trump ‘Patriot Prayer’ group gathered for the ‘Freedom Rally’ in Westlake Park, and counter-protesters from the ‘Solidarity Against Hate’ movement gathered in Denny Park.
The counter-protesters marched to Westlake Park chanting and holding signs decrying hate and Nazism, with some seen burning an American flag. Officers in full riot gear blocked the crowd from reaching the ‘Freedom Rally,’ for the “safety for all those involved,” police said in a statement.
A Trump supporter at the Freedom Rally in Westlake Park had his hat removed and thrown into crowd by a protester. Both sides throwing up ✌? pic.twitter.com/lUFolSt1oR
— Matt M. McKnight (@mattmillsphoto) August 14, 2017
Tensions mounted as people used makeshift shields to break the police line between 5th and 6th Avenues and threw fireworks at officers. Police responded with pepper spray.
The stand-off continued on Lenora Street, where the anti-fascist demonstrators were hit with pepper spray again as they tried to push their way to the pro-Trump rally.
Pictures posted to social media show people being treated following the clashes.
Police said no serious injuries were reported. The demonstrations resulted in three arrests.
Three arrested, no serious injuries reported as police worked to keep two planned demonstrations from converging. https://t.co/zPvISsVJ0o
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) August 14, 2017
The demonstrations come just one day after violent clashes and a car-ramming incident in Charlottesville, Virginia, which was called an “act of terrorism” by Mayor Mike Signer, as well as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster. One woman was killed and 19 people were injured when a car plowed into counter-protesters in Charlottesville on Saturday. Street violence also left several people injured. A police helicopter deployed to monitor the demonstrations crashed near the city, killing two officers.