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San Francisco Free Speech Rally Shut Down 'Within Minutes' After Counter-Protesters Attack Trump Supporters

10-18-2020
Counter-protesters at a free speech rally in San Francisco on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Counter-protesters at a free speech rally in San Francisco on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

A free speech rally organized by conservative activists in San Francisco on Saturday turned violent after alleged Antifa counter-protesters attacked the demonstrators.

Members of Team Save America organized the event at the United Nations Plaza to protest against Twitter, which they say suppresses free speech. But, the rally was canceled shortly after it started at 1:00 p.m. One of the organizers, Phillip Anderson, lost a tooth after he was punched in the mouth by a counter-protester.

"This is what happens when you lose free speech," Anderson said to the crowd. "This is what happens, America. This is what our country is turning into."

In a Twitter post, Anderson wrote that anti-fascist protesters attacked him "for no reason."

Team Save America wore red "Make America Great" Trump campaign hats, carried American flags, and pro-police "Thin Blue Line" flags.

Nearly a dozen of the pro-Trump demonstrators were confronted by several hundred counter-protesters. A photographer working for the Associated Press saw a Trump supporter being taken away in an ambulance, along with an injured police officer on the ground. 

The San Francisco Police Department said the action at the event became so disruptive it was deemed a "public safety hazard" and was stopped.

"Within minutes of the rally beginning opposition demonstrators began throwing glass bottles, plastic bottles filled with an unknown liquid, metal cans, and eggs at free speech rally participants and law enforcement personnel," the department said in a statement.

Three police officers suffered from non-life-threatening injuries after they were assaulted with pepper spray and corrosive chemicals.

The misconduct during Saturday's event adds to the long list of violent demonstrations that have taken place throughout the country this year.

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