Free speech protest in California goes horrible awry

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A free speech demonstration staged by conservative activists quickly fell apart in downtown San Francisco on Saturday after several hundred counterprotesters surged the area, outnumbering and attacking those gathered, including knocking one in the mouth.

A photographer working for The Associated Press witnessed a Trump supporter being taken away in an ambulance and an injured San Francisco police officer on the ground by San Francisco’s United Nations Plaza.

Team Save America organized the rally to protest Twitter, which it said squelches conservative speech. Members of the group wore red “Make America Great Again” Trump campaign hats and carried pro-police “Thin Blue Line” flags and U.S. flags.

Philip Anderson, the organizer of the event, posted photos to social media of his bloody mouth with a front tooth missing and another hanging loosely. He said anti-fascist protesters attacked him “for no reason.”

Related: President Trump’s supporters outside the Walter Reed hospital

19 PHOTOSPresident Trump's supporters outside the Walter Reed hospitalSee GalleryPresident Trump's supporters outside the Walter Reed hospitalBETHESDA, MD – OCTOBER 04: Young supporters hold up signs wishing President Donald Trump good health outside of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after the President was admitted for treatment of COVID-19 on October 4, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland. The President announced via Twitter early Friday morning that he had tested positive. Numerous other prominent GOP figures and members of Congress have also tested positive in the last few days. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)President Donald Turmp supporters gather outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Trump was admitted to the hospital after contracting COVID-19. (AP Photo/Anthony Peltier)Supporters of President Donald Trump drive past the entrance to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Trump went to the hospital Friday after testing positive for COVID-19.(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)BETHESDA, MD – OCTOBER 04: President Donald Trump supporters gather outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday October 04, 2020 in Bethesda, MD. Trump flew to Walter Reed on Friday as he battles Covid-19. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)BETHESDA, MD – OCTOBER 04: A supporter of President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as they drive by fellow supporters as they gather outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday October 04, 2020 in Bethesda, MD. Trump flew to Walter Reed on Friday as he battles Covid-19. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)BETHESDA, MD – OCTOBER 04: Supporters of President Donald Trump gather outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where the President was admitted for treatment of COVID-19 on October 4, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland. The President announced via Twitter early Friday morning that he had tested positive. Numerous other prominent GOP figures and members of Congress have also tested positive in the last few days. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)Supporters of President Donald Trump demonstrate without face masks at the entrance to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Trump was admitted to the hospital Friday after contracting the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Supporters of President Donald Trump, most not wearing masks, gather and hold signs near an entrance to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Trump went to the hospital Friday after testing positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)President Donald Trump supporters gather outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Trump was admitted to the hospital after contracting COVID-19. (AP Photo/Anthony Peltier)President Donald Turmp supporters gather outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Trump was admitted to the hospital after contracting COVID-19. (AP Photo/Anthony Peltier)BETHESDA, MD – OCTOBER 04: President Donald Trump supporters gather outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday October 04, 2020 in Bethesda, MD. Trump flew to Walter Reed on Friday as he battles Covid-19. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)President Donald Turmp supporters gather outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Trump was admitted to the hospital after contracting COVID-19. (AP Photo/Anthony Peltier)Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump’s sand sculpture is seen with their health recovery message as it is creating by sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik at the Bay of Bengal Sea’s eastern coast beach at Puri, 65 km away from the eastern Indian state Odisha’s capital city Bhubaneswar,on October 04, 2020. (Photo by STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)04 October 2020, US, Bethesda: Dan Golden, a supporter of US President Donald Trump, stands with a flag opposite the entrance to the Walter Reed Military Hospital. Donald Trump, who was infected with the corona virus together with his wife Melania, was transferred to the hospital on Friday. Photo: Can Merey/dpa (Photo by Can Merey/picture alliance via Getty Images)BETHESDA, MD – OCTOBER 04: Supporters of President Donald Trump honk their horn and wave the national flag as they drive past Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where the President was admitted for treatment of COVID-19 on October 4, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland. The President announced via Twitter early Friday morning that he had tested positive. Numerous other prominent GOP figures and members of Congress have also tested positive in the last few days. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)BETHESDA, MD – OCTOBER 04: A man poses for a photo next to a cardboard cutout of First Lady Melania Trump outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where President Donald Trump and the First Lady where admitted for treatment of COVID-19 on October 4, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland. The President announced via Twitter early Friday morning that he had tested positive. 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Anderson took the stage at about 1 p.m. and was greeted by chants and plastic water bottles and glass bottles thrown over police barricades.

The event was canceled, although both sides lingered in the area into the afternoon.

The San Francisco Police Department said three officers suffered non life-threatening injuries when they were assaulted with pepper spray and caustic chemicals. One officer was taken to a local hospital for treatment, the department said.

No arrests were made, the department said.

Anderson called the counterprotesters hypocrites and said they are the reason why he’s voting for President Donald Trump.

“I love America, I love this country and I love free speech,” he said.

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