A free speech rally organized by conservatives was overrun by several hundred “counterprotesters” – some holding Antifa flags – on Saturday in downtown San Francisco.
As The Epoch Times reports, a number of individuals from the counterprotester group physically attacked conservatives, including event organizer Philip Anderson, who lost a front tooth after he was punched in the mouth.
One man wearing a Trump T-shirt had to be taken away in an ambulance after being attacked.
A police officer also had to be taken to the hospital.
A photographer working for The Associated Press also witnessed an injured San Francisco police officer on the ground by San Francisco’s United Nations Plaza after the sergeant tried to prevent the attacks from communists.
Team Save America organized the rally to protest Twitter’s banning of a NY Post article alleging that Hunter Biden had set up a meeting for a Ukrainian businessman with his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, during the Obama administration. The Biden campaign as denied the allegations.
Members of the group wore “Make America Great Again” hats and carried U.S. flags. They also carried “Thin Blue Line” flags in support of law enforcement.
Other scuffles broke out at the United Nations Plaza as well, with one video showing an alleged Antifa member hitting a person with something resembling a baseball bat. According to local media, at least one Trump supporter was taken away in an ambulance.
Videos posted on social media show loud activists trailing Anderson, chanting “Get the f**k out!” and “You’re not welcome here!” as the man was going to the stage. At one point, a black-clad man suddenly jumped on Anderson, delivering two powerful punches to his face.
Meanwhile in Washington DC, a young Trump supporter claimed she was assaulted by Black Lives Matter activists for bringing a ‘Trump 2020’ flag to the Women’s March. Isabella DeLuca posted a photo of herself in a cervical collar with a bruised face and lip.
As Jonathan Turley previously wrote, Antifa is indeed more of a movement than a specific organization, but it has members and associated groups. Indeed, it has long been the “Keyser Söze” of the anti-free speech movement, a loosely aligned group that employs measures to avoid easy detection or association. FBI Director Wray told Congress “And we have quite a number — and I’ve said this quite consistently since my first time appearing before this committee — we have any number of properly predicated investigations into what we would describe as violent anarchist extremists and some of those individuals self-identify with Antifa.”
My greatest concern is that we need to take Antifa seriously as a virulent anti-free speech organization. There is a fair criticism of politicians who have refused to denounce the group or even support it. Former Democratic National Committee deputy chair Keith Ellison, now the Minnesota attorney general, once said Antifa would “strike fear in the heart” of Trump. This was after Antifa had been involved in numerous acts of violence and its website was banned in Germany. His own son, Minneapolis City Council member Jeremiah Ellison, declared his allegiance to Antifa in the heat of the protests this summer. During the prior hearing, Democratic senators refused to clearly denounce Antifa and falsely suggested that the far right was the primary cause of recent violence. Likewise, Joe Biden has dismissed objections to Antifa as just “an idea.”
What is striking is how Antifa rhetoric has become so prevalent as people claim that the act of silencing others is not only commendable or even itself a form of free speech. NBC quotes counter protester Shagoofa Khan as proudly declaring “We actually kicked them out.”
A local resident named said Carole Selignan is quoted as saying “We don’t need those types of people in San Francisco” while Kristina Lee said that this was “working class solidarity against that rhetoric that’s divisive and pits the working class against one another.” It was in fact an effort to prevent opposing views and voices from being heard. It is an example how free speech is now treated as itself a threat. That is right out of the Antifa Handbook.
Rutgers Professor Mark Bray’s Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook discusses what Antifa calls “self-defense,” including violence against police or anyone deemed a fascist. In a Washington Post opinion editorial criticizing President Trump’s attacks on Antifa as “delegitimizing militant protest,” Bray stated:
“I believe it’s true that most, if not all, members do wholeheartedly support militant self-defense against the police and the targeted destruction of police and capitalist property that has accompanied it this week. I’m also confident that some members of antifa groups have participated in a variety of forms of resistance during this dramatic rebellion.”
Antifa rejects the very foundation for free speech. Indeed, Antifa Handbook starts with the following quote from Buenaventura Durruti: “fascism is not to be debated, it is to be destroyed.”