At least seven people, identified by prosecutors as part of “antifa” groups, have been charged with eight assaults that took place in San Diego during a “Patriot March” in January organized by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
The seven were arraigned on Monday after being arrested in raids by law enforcement officers in southern California.
Prosecutors allege in a criminal complaint that the defendants “are self-identified to be affiliated with Anti-fascists or antifa.”
The complaint claims the defendants began their conspiracy “by liking and sharing” a social media post in early January that called for a protest against the pro-Trump rally, the Union-Tribune said.
Those charged are accused of using small flag poles, pepper spray, and other items to attack those in the pro-Trump march.
The prosecutors claim the defendants began organizing themselves a week before the pro-Trump rally — with one group in San Diego and the other in Los Angeles.
The Center for Strategic & International Studies says: “Antifa is a contraction of the phrase ‘anti-fascist.’ It refers to a decentralized network of far-left militants that oppose what they believe are fascist, racist, or otherwise right-wing extremists. While some consider Antifa a sub-set of anarchists, adherents frequently blend anarchist and communist views.”
San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan’s office said in a statement: “Video evidence analysis shows that overwhelmingly the violence in this incident was perpetrated by the Antifa affiliates and was not a mutual fray with both sides crossing out of lawful First Amendment expression into riot and violence.”
Arraigned were Jonathon White, 39; Luis Francisco Mora, 30; Joseph Austin Gaskins, 21; Faraz Martin Talab, 27; Bryan Rivera, 21; Brian Lightfoot, 25; and Jesse Merel Cannon, 31.
At least four others are also facing charges, the newspaper said.
The clash happened Jan. 9 in Pacific Beach, according to CBS8 in San Diego. It said an estimated 100 counter-protesters showed up to demonstrate.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.