America First demo draws larger counter-protests
The America First march, organized by a Hispanic man called Johnny Benitez, who has set up similar gatherings in the past, was held to honor victims of crimes…
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A march against undocumented immigration and a larger counter-protest took place simulataneously without major incident on Sunday in the southern Californian city of Laguna Beach.
A large police deployment helped to keep the situation under control.
The America First march, organized by a Hispanic man called Johnny Benitez, who has set up similar gatherings in the past, was held to honor victims of crimes committed by undocumented migrants and refugees and to protest against undocumented immigration.
"I've been pretty clear that I'm not a white supremacist," Benitez said.
He said that the true motive behind the support for undocumented immigrants is hidden by arguments about refugee crises and people fleeing violence in their countries, but in reality it is a scam for getting cheap labor.
The anti-illegal immigration protestors carried placards calling for the country's borders to be secured.
Just before the march began, around 150 people arrived at the site with placards in support of immigration, organized by the group Democratic Socialists of America - Orange County. A heavy police presence kept an eye on shouting matches between the two sides.
Laguna Beach Police spokespersons said that they had deployed at least 100 police, including officers from neighboring police agencies, to prevent any violence.
Local police official Jim Cota said that the heavy police presence was aimed at guaranteeing the right to free expression and the security of all the participants, but with zero tolerance towards violent acts.
The officers set up barriers to avoid a repeat of the incident in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a 32-year-old woman died on Aug. 12 after being run over by an alleged neo-Nazi during a clash between white nationalists and anti-racist protestors.
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