A brawl erupted in downtown San Francisco Saturday afternoon when a small group of less than 10 right-wing protesters led by controversial organizer Amber Cummings clashed with anti-fascist demonstrators.
Cummings, a transgender woman and self-described Trump supporter, had called for the rally outside of the British Consulate at 1 Sansome St. in solidarity with Tommy Robinson, the founder of the far-right English Defence League. Robinson is known for anti-Muslim campaigns and is currently imprisoned in the United Kingdom.
A BART station entrance on Sansome Street was inscribed with the words “Racists not welcome,” and posters that read “Immigrants welcome.” Moments after the group’s arrival, Cummings and a counter protester who had been waiting for her at the intersection became involved in a fist fight after the protester allegedly grabbed a megaphone from the hands one of Cumming’s supporters.
“We came out to rally here and be on our way,” said a woman who gave her name as Lindsey and stood with the “Free Tommy” protesters. “For some reason, people are saying because we are out here supporting [Robinson] that we are racist. We haven’t even been here 15 minutes and this happened.”
A counter protester who witnessed the altercation said that Robinson’s rhetoric has included likening Muslims to pedophiles. “So they are racist,” he said about Robinson’s supporters.
After Cummings and the counter protester were separated, the “Free Tommy” rally again turned violent when about a dozen anti-fascist protesters who stood in solidarity with a nearby Occupy ICE San Francisco demonstration at Washington and Sansome streets approached the intersection. Few words were exchanged before several members of both groups began beating each other, although it is unclear who initiated the brawl.
The protesters dispersed before police were called to the scene.
Since July 2, the ‘Occupy’ protesters have set up tents in front of San Francisco’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices, calling for the abolishment of the immigration enforcement agency and denouncing the Trump Administration’s aggressive immigration policies.
Approximately an hour before the encounter, dozens of people supported a peaceful rally held at the Occupy ICE camp at 444 Washington St. Several organizers there said that they were aware of Cummings’ rally scheduled to take place a few blocks away and called for community support in defending the commune.