Shortly after members of fascist groups known as the Proud Boys and/or Patriot Prayer started a fight with anti-fascist counter protesters, police shut down the “Resist Marxism” rally on the State House lawn in Providence on Saturday.
This is the second time Boston-based, ultra-right wing political group Resist Marxism organized a rally at the Rhode Island State House and once again many right-wing organizations, including the Southern Poverty Law Center certified hate groups Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer, were in attendance.
Long before the rally began the Rhode Island State Police had set up barricades around the south side of the the State House establishing a wide area to separate the small number of rally organizers from the much larger group of anti-fascist counter protesters. Many of the police wore riot gear and there were police snipers spotted on the roof of the State House. The police barricades, made to be easily separated, were bound together with small bike locks.
Despite the wide area established by the police to separate the two sides, about 15 members of the Proud Boys and/or Patriot Prayer lined the outside of the barricades to directly face off against the anti-fascist counter protesters. Some of the Proud Boys wore red MAGA hats and many wore black shirts marked “SECURITY.”
It had been rumored for weeks that the Resist Marxism organizers had arranged for certain members of the Proud Boys and/or Patriot Prayer to be flown in as instigators and muscle. Tusitala “Tiny” Toese and Joey Gibson were identified as being there. Both live in Vancouver, Washington.
The counter protesters were organized by Ocean State Against Hate, an antifascist coalition here in Rhode Island.
The rally was set to begin at noon and continue until 3pm, but it was over by 12:30 at the latest, after a fight broke out between the Proud Boys and the anti-fascist counter protesters and the Rhode Island State Police ordered everyone to clear the area or risk arrest. The State Police seemed to be being assisted by Capitol Police and the National Guard.
My camera caught the moment the first punch was thrown by a member of the Proud Boys and the scene erupted into chaos. Warning: This video gets pretty violent. At one point a fire extinguisher is fired into the melee, some sort of smoke bomb went off and other foul liquids were splashed.
After the police moved in and broke up the fight the anti-fascist crowd began to chant, “who do you protect? Who do you serve?” at the police officers.
In the video below we first see the arrival of the police in riot gear, then we jump forward to after the fight and aftermath seen in the videos above. The police made the decision to forcibly disperse everyone from the State House grounds “regardless of your purpose in remaining.” Threats of arrest were made
The riot police advanced on the crowd ten steps at a time until everyone from both sides were off the State House grounds. As the anti-fascist counter protesters retreated, the Resist Marxism rally went on, with speeches and disingenuous calls for unity and understanding.
There was no one there to listen to them, and the police dispersed them as well.
Organizers of the rally promised to return to Providence.
Providence Journal: Groups clash in raucous protest at State House
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