A reported fight between the far-right gang and members of the Revolutionary Communist Party outside the White House marked the second time in as many weeks that the Proud Boys were involved in violent clashes, The Independent reported.
Members of the Proud Boys, a Trump-supporting gang founded by Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes, were reportedly escorted through the streets by police officers while chanting “blue lives matter.” Meanwhile, members of the communist group burned American flags and chanted, “America was never great,” and “burn, baby, burn,” according to CNN.
The groups scuffled on several occasions throughout the demonstrations.
Two people were arrested and two officers sustained minor injuries while attempting arrests, the U.S. Secret Service announced on Twitter. While it is not illegal to burn an American flag, the agency said that a burning had occurred “outside the limits of a permit that had been issued by the National Park Service.”
The Proud Boys, who are identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, have planned and hosted violent pro-Trump rallies in the past. Several are facing charges of rioting and assault after attacks on protesters outside a GOP event in New York City in October.
Trump’s “Salute to America” on Thursday drew heavy criticism for its military displays, its extravagant cost that required redirecting $2.5 million in National Park Service funds, and for injecting politics into a traditionally nonpolitical event. The Proud Boys fight broke out before Trump began speaking.
The clash came just a week after a Proud Boys-hosted rally in Portland, Oregon, resulted in the injury of conservative writer Andy Ngo. Another so-called “Rally for Free Speech” planned by the Proud Boys for Saturday in D.C. stoked fears of more violent skirmishes.