MODESTO (KRON) – Three people were arrested Saturday after a fight broke out outside an abortion clinic where people rallying for “Straight Pride” were met with counter-protests, according to the Modesto Police Department.
Sharon Bear, a public information officer for the department, told KRON4 that the arrests were of a mixture of “Straight Pride” demonstrators and counter-protesters after they failed to leave the area after police had declared it to be an unlawful assembly.
The rally was organized by the anti-LGBTQ California Straight Pride Coalition for the fourth year in a row. This year the anti-gay activists decided to hold the rally outside of a Planned Parenthood. There were around 30, Bear said, and they were met by between 125-150 counter-protesters.
A person associated with the right-wing extremist group the Proud Boys tried to push past a police line separating the two sides, the Modesto Bee reports, at which point a counter-protester threw a water bottle in retaliation.
The situation spiraled out of control from there.
While some reported fireworks, Bear could not confirm that information, but did say a smoke bomb was thrown.
“There were water bottles and punches being thrown and a smoke bomb lit a bush on fire and then we declared an unlawful assembly,” Bear said. “It looks like the things were thrown from the counter-protesters to a couple people on the side associated with Straight Pride.”
The mayhem was before the rally’s noon start time and Bear noted that the “Straight Pride” supporters involved in the fight were not part of the official rally.
The counter-protesters regrouped at a nearby park and continued their demonstration.