A crowd of White Lives Matter protesters and antiracism counterprotesters filled the streets near the Huntington Beach pier on Sunday, but quickly dispersed after police declared an unlawful assembly amid increasingly hostile clashes between Donald Trump supporters, those displaying allegiance to white supremacist groups and their opponents.
Several hundred people gathered in the plaza area at the base of the pier Sunday morning to demonstrate against a so-called White Lives Matter rally that was to start at 1 p.m. Police officers stood at the edges of the plaza at Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street as helicopters and drones circled overhead.
But by 2:30 p.m., the crowd had grown to nearly 500 people and police directed everyone to disperse — sending alerts to people’s cellphones in the area threatening arrest — as tensions heated up among rival demonstrators.
The rally drew a cross-section of people with conservative beliefs ranging from gun supporters and anti-abortion advocates to members of the far-right organization Proud Boys. William Quigg, who is known as the state leader of the Loyal White Knights faction of the Ku Klux Klan in California, was seen walking through the crowd.
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