HOLLYWOOD — Words rumbled like thunder down Hollywood Boulevard on Saturday during a clash between demonstrators in support of President Donald Trump and against the billionaire and former reality TV celebrity.
The largely nonviolent afternoon protest saw a contest of shouts and placards swirl around Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame sidewalk star. In one known act of violence, one Trump booster was arrested after striking an anti-trump demonstrator in the face, Los Angeles police said.
“No KKK. No fascist U.S.A. No Trump!” one side chanted.
“U.S.A. U.S.A. U.S.A.!” the other side countered. “Donald Trump. Donald Trump. Donald Trump!”
The faceoff outside the Hollywood/Highland Metro stop drew an estimated 100 for-and-against Trump demonstrators in what has become a common clash since the 45th president took office in January.
In Los Angeles, the bullhorn-driven battle of words are nearly always the same.
Hundreds, sometimes thousands, of anti-Trump demonstrators line streets from downtown to LAX to Tinseltown to protest the president’s immigration, proposed border wall and other policies.
Hundreds of counterprotesters, rallying to “Make America Great Again,” turn out in droves to defend the commander-in-chief, rule of law and what they say is his right to secure the nation’s borders.
Los Angeles police stand by to keep opposing sides at arm’s length. And few, if any, arrests are made for fisticuffs or other incidents.
Saturday’s demonstration in the heart of Hollywood appeared no different.
An anti-Trump group, Refuse Fascism L.A., announced a 3 p.m. nonviolent political protest and march, synced with 19 other cities across the nation, at Trump’s star on Hollywood Boulevard in the tourist hub.
Then pro-Trump groups showed up two hours earlier for an Arrest More Liberals at their Anti-Trump March rally.
Over the past year, the Trump star has become a flashpoint and focus of vandalism. On Oct. 26, James Lambert Otis took a pickax to the then-Republican presidential nominee’s terrazzo and brass sidewalk monument.
A mutual shouting match soon merged with gawking tourists snapping cellphone pics mingling with Hollywood usuals Minnie Mouse, Bugs Bunny and other sidewalk characters.
Trump supporters defended his star with signs that read “Liberals for Trump,” “USA Don’t Tread on Me,” and “One nation under God and Constitution.”
“He’s your president,” barked Kurtis Bell, 50, of Santa Clarita from behind a Trump mask as he danced around the Trump star. “Trump won.”
“Let’s give a yell for President Trump!” said Randi Berger, a Trump rally organizer of Encino. “We’re here to protect Trump’s star from people vandalizing it. And to give a voice to the president.
“We’re happy about what he’s doing. He’s the first president in decades to restore law and order.”
It wasn’t long before face-to-face shouting matches flared up down the sidewalk. One Trump supporter chanting “U.S.A.” through an electronic bullhorn allegedly threw a fist into the face of Gray Wolf of Simi Valley.
Another Trump supporter then administered first-aid to Wolf’s left cheek.
“I’ve been doing this for 50 years, and this is the first time I’ve ever been injured,” said Wolf, director of a Southern California Chapter of the American Indian Movement. Of the first-aid giver, Wolf said, “I’m going to look up that man and thank him.”
Police arrested the alleged battery suspect, then moved the two crowds roughly 30 feet apart in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard closed off to cars.
“We will bring order to this crowd,” said Los Angeles police Sgt. Neil Wank, of Hollywood Division, who said one arrest, a citizen’s arrest, was made for suspected battery.
Meanwhile, a battle of the bullhorns continued.
The anti-Trump faction drew a host of flags, signs and banners with a sound truck that said, “No! The Trump/Pence Regime must go!” During their anti-fascist protest, they accused Trump of acts of racism, misogyny and xenophobia.
“A modern-day lynch mob. They’re defending the (Ku Klux Klan). They’re Nazis,” cried Michelle Xai, an organizer from South Los Angeles, through a power bullhorn. “They’re stripping away women’s basic human rights.
Isabelle Cardenas of Refuse Fascism said she came because she was fed up with Trump’s regime. “They demonize. They persecute. They lock up and throw out immigrants who have built this country,” said Cardenas, 79, of East Hollywood.
Paige Bowick, visiting Hollywood from “Trump country” in Houston, Texas, was impressed by the Hollywood Boulevard war of words.
“This is cool,” she said. “That this is America. And we can do this. It’s what I think is cool (about America).”
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