Hundreds show in counter-protest before right-wing rally in Southern California

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-20 10:32:44|Editor: Mengjie
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LOS ANGELES, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- About 500 demonstrators gathered Saturday morning in Laguna Beach of Orange Country, a popular site for tourists in Southern California, peacefully protesting racism and white supremacy.

The demonstration, organized by several local civil rights groups, was held just one day before a planned right-wing rally in the same place on Sunday evening.

Carrying signs with such statements "Pro-America, Anti-Trump," activists applauded speeches delivered by city Mayor Toni Iseman and Susan Emerson, a resident of Virginia that saw what happened in Charlottesville last week.

On Aug. 12, thousands of white nationalists, neo-Confederates and right-wing protesters, as well as groups opposing them, clashed during demonstrations in Charlottesville, a historic college town in Virginia.

After hours of brawls, a sports car ploughed into a group of counter-white supremacist protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring 19 others.

"We are here today, because we can not be here tomorrow," Susan said, "When you go home today, make sure you will tell you friends that you are being here today and you will not go out dancing with bad boys tomorrow, they want us to engage, they want fights."

Even though Orange County is a stronghold of the Republicans, most of local residents do not like the planned Sunday event, which is titled "America First! Electric Vigil for the Victims of Illegals and Refugees."

Stephanie Hammerwold, executive director of Pacific Reentry Career Services, pointed out the Sunday rally is a hate rally targeting immigrants and attempting to instill fear and hatred against immigrants and people of color.

"The facts are immigrants commit crime at lower rates than native-born citizens. And it is more than a little ironic that white supremacists are condemning violence by immigrants when white settlers stole the land of Native Americans and committed horrible atrocities against them," she said.

Laguna Beach Police Department also warned there is a "zero tolerance policy" for Sunday's rally.

Los Angeles-based celebrity and entertainment news website reported Saturday that policemen said they would not give warnings on Sunday and that any demonstrators "who go where they should not go or break the law by fighting, throwing objects or inciting violence" will be cuffed to jail immediately.