Earlier this week, the Los Angeles City Council voted to direct city attorneys to draft a law that would require people to have at least one dose of a vaccine to visit indoor restaurants, bars, gyms, shops, and movie theaters. Much of the plan has yet to be worked out, and the full City Council still must approve the proposed law after it’s written up. The proposed plan angered local anti-vaccine groups and members of the Proud Boys, who have been declared domestic terrorists in Canada.
A crowd of several hundred people, many holding American flags and signs calling for “medical freedom,” had descended on L.A. City Hall around 2 p.m. for the planned rally. Videos show counterprotesters in all black and anti-vaccine demonstrators draped in American flag garb and Trump memorabilia trading punches and throwing things at one another. It was not immediately clear how the fight started, though each side quickly blamed the other. One person was stabbed and a reporter was allegedly assaulted as members of the Proud Boys and other right-wing groups clashed with their opponents.
One person, who the anti-mask protesters claim was part of their rally, could be seen collapsed in the intersection, bleeding. Police on the scene said the person had been stabbed, and paramedics arrived to take him to a hospital. Amid the chaos, counterprotesters could be seen spraying mace while members of the anti-vaccine rally screamed death threats. One older man screamed, “unmask them all,” and clawed at a woman’s face.
“Anti-vaxx” / Proud Boys rally in Los Angeles off to a great start. pic.twitter.com/mMAQxfwfxw
— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) August 14, 2021
A short time later, KPCC reporter Frank Stoltze could be seen walking out of the park near City Hall being screamed at by anti-mask protesters. One man could be seen kicking him. Stoltze later told a police officer he had been assaulted while trying to conduct an interview. Spell confirmed that a police report was taken.
Something happened to me today that’s never happened in 30 yrs of reporting. In LA. @LAist I was shoved, kicked and my eyeglasses were ripped off of my face by a group of guys at a protest – outside City Hall during an anti-vax Recall @GavinNewsom Pro Trump rally. pic.twitter.com/6s2Jfm8Xrg
— Frank Stoltze (@StoltzeFrankly) August 15, 2021
Stoltze later tweeted this statement: “Something happened to me today that’s never happened in 30 yrs of reporting. In LA. @LAist I was shoved, kicked and my eyeglasses were ripped off of my face by a group of guys at a protest – outside City Hall during an anti-vax Recall @GavinNewsom Pro Trump rally.”
The Proud Boys, Amercian Taliban.
— Chris Hahn (@ChristopherHahn) August 15, 2021
By late afternoon, a small crowd of counter-protesters, mostly dressed in all black, remained near LAPD headquarters, but police had formed skirmish lines to separate the two groups.
Some shady fellas showing up for the anti mask/anti-vaxx protest at City Hall pic.twitter.com/eVsCvrWhmg
— Eve (@waterspider__) August 14, 2021
The demonstrators had billed the rally as a “stand against rules requiring COVID-19 vaccinations and so-called vaccine passports” and said they also opposed wearing masks. A flier advertising the counterdemonstration decried the group as “fascists”.