A man was stabbed and at least two journalists attacked Saturday as vicious fighting erupted between coronavirus anti-vaccine protesters, many of them Proud Boys wearing American flag and Donald Trump MAGA garb, and counterprotesters outside Los Angeles City Hall.
Police didn’t immediately have information about the stabbing victim, who was treated on the scene by Los Angeles Fire Department personnel. They reported no arrests by late afternoon, but an investigation was continuing.
Frank Stolze, a reporter for the National Public Radio station KPCC, was screamed at, then shoved and kicked by anti-mask and anti-vaccine protesters while he was trying to conduct an interview, the Los Angeles Times reported. He filed a police complaint, the LA Police Department confirmed.
He later tweeted that he was “mad but fine,” and noted that he had never experienced anything like that in his 30 years as a reporter.
In a tweet, she identified what appeared to be an orange thermos in one attacker’s hand as a “weapon” used by other anti-vaccine protesters.
Critics on Twitter slammed police officers for standing by during much of the violence. Journalist Andrew Kimmel indicated that the paramilitary Proud Boys were responsible for many of the street attacks. He said one of the gang continually pointed him out to others.
Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez blasted the violence.
“These aren’t ‘patriots.’ Not wearing a mask and being anti-vax isn’t patriotism — it’s stupidity,” she said in a statement. “We have to be able to have differences of opinions without resorting to violence. Attacking counter-protesters and journalists has no place in a democracy, and certainly no place in Los Angeles.”
Members of the Proud Boys have been descending on school board meetings in some communities to rail against mask mandates to keep students safe and threaten members supporting health precautions in schools.