Pro-Trump rally participants mix with Anti-Trump protester as the two sides clash during a Pro-Trump rally in Huntington Beach, California, U.S., March 25, 2017. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon
Pro-Trump rally participants mix with Anti-Trump protester as the two sides clash during a Pro-Trump rally in Huntington Beach, California, U.S., March 25, 2017. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

At least three people arrested during a “Make America Great” rally at Bolsa Chica State Beach were facing felony charges and one reporter and two photographers allegedly were assaulted by pro-Trump demonstrators, according to published reports

Three of the four people arrested at Saturday’s march have been charged with felony illegal use of pepper spray and a woman was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor assault and battery, the Orange County Register reported.

Initially, six people were detained. Four of the six were arrested, including the three on suspicion of illegal use of pepper spray, a felony, and the woman suspected of misdemeanor assault and battery, State Parks Police Capt. Kevin Pearsall said.

An OC Weekly reporter and two photographers told the Los Angeles Times they were physically assaulted by pro-Trump demonstrators at a Make America Great Again rally in Huntington Beach and were seeking the public’s help in identifying at least one of the people responsible.

Frank Tristan — an intern at the OC Weekly — and photographers Julie Leopo and Brian Feinzimer allegedly were attacked before one of several counter- demonstrators pepper-sprayed an organizer of Saturday’s event, the newspaper reported.

After organizer Jennifer Sterling was pepper-sprayed, several fights broke out.

OC Weekly editor Gustavo Arellano alleges that a video of the confrontation shows Sterling trying to intervene after a Trump supporter pushed and shoved Feinzimer, who was shooting pictures of Leopo being hit with an American flag, then repeatedly punched Tristan.

A moment later, Sterling is pepper-sprayed and can be seen staggering and rubbing her eyes before falling to the ground Arellano said.

“My photographers and intern were just trying to do their jobs,” Arellano said in a statement Sunday. “For that, they got harassed by Trump supporters, then shoved and punched when they tried to defend each other. I’m proud of them.”

The Saturday rally, one of several held nationwide, was organized by supporters of President Donald Trump who also wanted to show their respect for veterans, law enforcement and first responders.

“We love our country and we want to show gratitude to the men and women who put their own lives on the line every day,” the organizers said in a pre- march statement.

They also announced plans to collect donations to benefit homeless veterans.

About 2,000 people marched on the Bolsa Chica beachfront walk for the event that started at noon, Saturday, State Parks Police Capt. Kevin Pearsall said.

At least 30 counter-demonstrators also showed up, which led to clashes over differing political viewpoints.

Organizers said a man wearing a black mask pepper-sprayed an organizer of the event and was tackled and punched by Trump supporters. Video from the scene, posted on Facebook, showed the confrontation.

A Trump supporter can be seen punching the man with the black mask and then being pulled away as the masked man runs off.

Sterling, of Laguna Beach — the main force behind the pro-Trump march — said she was the person pepper-sprayed, but she appeared uninjured. “It was a quick reaction,” she said, according to the Times. “There was about 12 of them.”

The altercation began at 12:30 p.m., Pearsall said.

Thirty-five state parks police officers and 11 California Highway Patrol officers were standing by at the time and moved in to quell the violence, he said.

Two people suffered “very minor abrasions” and were treated at the scene, Pearsall said. The woman who was pepper-sprayed needed no treatment.

The march broke up about 3 p.m. as scheduled, he said.

“It was unfortunate there were some incidents,” Pearsall said. But it could have been worse “considering the amount of people and social media coverage.”

Jordan Hoiberg of Newport Beach, a member of the Socialist Party USA, told the Register he saw a protester use pepper spray in self-defense.

“We were expecting it to be more peaceful,” he told the paper. “We were not about to start something when we are 10 people and they are a thousand. That would be suicidal.”

Police said no arrests were reported at a smaller Saturday event in Hollywood; where about 100 people gathered near Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

—City News Service

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