Antifa's violent confrontations with police, journalists mar otherwise peaceful rally counterprotesters

Members of Antifa were seen launching eggs, fireworks and water bottles at police officers and the Secret Service, beating people in the street and threatening members of the media during the uber-left, so-called anti-fascist group's counter-protest of rightwing rallies this weekend in Washington, D.C. and Virginia.

The rallies, which drew about 40 alt-right or pro-white nationalist demonstrators to Charlottesville, occurred to mark the one-year anniversary of the violence in that Virginia city that left one woman dead. An event was also held in Washington, D.C., which attracted about 150-200 Antifa members, many wearing black masks.

The rallies also boasted hundreds of non-violent counter-protesters who weren't affiliated with Antifa and were mostly peaceful in their demonstrations against the white nationalists.

The D.C. Antifa group marched around the downtown area as camera phones caught members throwing eggs and water bottles and shooting fireworks at cops and journalists. The events were also relayed by some media members on the ground.

In a tense scene about a half-mile from the White House, police appeared to shove back the advancing Antifa group. One officer used pepper spray, but officials said no tear gas was used.

A video posted on Twitter showed Antifa members violently attacking a police officer on a motorcycle as he drove through the crowd.

A day earlier, in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia – the site of the violent and deadly clashes sparked by a massive far-right white supremacy rally – counterprotesters clashed with journalists, with an NBC News reporter saying one person even tried to grab a cameraman’s camera as he told him to stop filming.

“Protesters very aggressive with media,” Cal Perry tweeted with a video showing one person trying to grab the camera from his hands.


He later tweeted that the demonstrations, which began near the University of Virginia’s campus, came to be “Almost exclusively Antifa” after students left the protests.

Another reporter, DeJuan Hoggard with WTVD, shared a video from Sunday in Charlottesville that showed an Antifa member tried to stop his group from filming and even cut their audio cable.

Charlottesville police said they are investigating the assault of an officer who was knocked down during a demonstration related to the rally. The officer was knocked to the ground and swarmed after approaching a man whose face was covered, according to police. The officer wasn’t hurt, but the investigation is ongoing.

Four people were also arrested in the city’s downtown area, with two arrests stemming from a confrontation near the monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The physical altercation was sparked after a Spotsylvania, Virginia man stopped to salute the statue and a Charlottesville woman confronted him, officials said.

Hundreds of neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members and other white nationalists descended on Charlottesville on Aug. 12, 2017, in part to protest the city's decision to remove a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park.

Violent fighting broke out between attendees and counterprotesters. Authorities eventually forced the crowd to disperse, but chaos erupted again when a car barreled into the crowd, killing Heather Heyer.

James Fields Jr., of Maumee, Ohio, is charged in state court with murder in Heyer's killing and faces separate hate crime charges in federal court. He pleaded not guilty last month to the federal charges.

The day's death toll rose to three when a state police helicopter crashed, killing Lt. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous tweet included in this report was posted in 2017.