California ‘straight pride’ march hit by violent clashes with pro-LGBT counter-protesters
The National Straight Pride Coalition touted the event as a celebration of ‘heterosexuality, masculinity, femininity, babies – born and unborn and Western straight civilization, our wonderful country and Christianity.’
Founder Don Grundmann promised a calm organized march, telling the Modesto City council in early August: ‘We’re a peaceful group, we wanted to have a meeting. We’re attacked as racist. We’re a totally peaceful racist group.’
But it quickly descended into violence, as angry pro-LGBT rights groups clashed with officers deployed to maintain calm at the event.
Pro-life and LGBTQ counter-protesters clash with police during the National Straight Pride Coalition march
Modesto police in riot gear tried to disburse a group of pro-live advocates that had turned up to opposed the ‘Straight Pride’ groups
Police used pepper balls fired from shotguns to drive back LGBTQ protester during the Saturday clash
On Saturday morning at the corner of McHenry and West Orangeburg avenues, the group was joined by the sympathetic rightwing group the Proud Boys, who helped organize the January 6 attack on the Capitol Building.
A large contingent of LGBTQ and pro-choice counter-protesters who took offense to the message behind the march also showed up – and violence ensued.
Skirmishes broke out between the groups, with counter-protesters draped in rainbow colored capes and holding placards that read ‘Only the struggle has won – Women’s Rights,’ ‘Fascists not welcome’ and ‘Straight Pride is Hate Pride.’
LGBTQ protesters threw bottles and, in one heated clash, swung signs on sticks at the Straight Pride members, driving them back away from the clinic toward the parking lot of a local Wendy’s.
A caravan of LGBTQ counter-protesters came from Sacramento, California to push back against the right-wing ‘Straight Pride’ group
Proud Boys and ‘Straight Pride’ allies fought with the larger LGBTQ groups and were driven back
During the march a flashbang grenade or firecracker was ignited and set a shrub on fire, filling the air with white smoke
A flash grenade or firecracker went off, igniting the bush near the abortion clinic and filling the air with white smoke.
Police in riot gear – helmets, shields and batons – arrived to drive the LGBTQ counter-protesters back and disperse the groups.
There was a brief standoff in the parking lot of the Planned Parenthood clinic in which a phalanx of police pushed up against a wall of LGBTQ protesters.
Police could be seen pointing shotguns armed with pepper balls – hard plastic projectiles – at the crowd and firing. Authorities drove the counter-protesters back to a local car lot where they drifted apart.
‘We have two armies to go up against when we stand for our rights: we have to deal with the cops attacking us, and we’re about to get a second wave of right-wing extremists. We’re fearful of them attacking us as well,’ Odette Zapata, who came from Sacramento as part of a caravan against the Straight Pride Coalition march, told the Modesto Bee.
Police are seen here pointing a shotgun loaded with pepper balls at the LGBTQ group which had formed in the parking lot of the Planned Parenthood clinic
Protesters wore rainbow colored capes and carried signs decrying racism and fascism
Police, seen here, finally drove the protesters off the parking lot of the Planned Parenthood clinic