Tianna Hampton and Alberto Nunez
A wave of counter protestors gathered at Bluff Park to oppose the United Patriot National Front, a white nationalist group that was scheduled to rally via a Facebook event Sunday morning.
The diverse group of picketers were a mix of ethnicities, ages and the most radical, to the more relaxed.Though the police presence was high, protestors and members of the community still came together.
“We knew, we couldn’t allow them to have a group of a dozen people or more,” said Kevin Joerger, member of Long Beach Democratic Socialists of America. “Any amount of fascist gathering in public is too many. There are community members who keep tabs on right-wing groups to make sure they know what they are doing.”
Vehicles driving down Ocean Boulevard honked as protestors chanted, “Smash the fascists! This is the hour! Neighbors, Blacks, immigrant power!”
“I want to get more active in the community, this is one way of doing it,” said Steven Estrada, a Long Beach State senior in sociology, “I want to say I was surprised, but I was more angry and frustrated because Long Beach is a very diverse community … it angers me that white supremacists feel so emboldened to take our spaces and to take our feelings of safety.”
Luckily for protestors, this rally was much more safe than the one the previous day in Huntington Beach.
Most carried individual signs that read things such as “White supremacy spreads hate,” “Racists belong in cages, not children” and “Fuck nazis.” Others walked together while holding a “Trump-Pence must go” banner.
“We got wind of what was going on down here and were like ‘Hell Yeah,’” said Antonio Glass, a Rolex photographer. “This is history. This happened before we were even a thought. I can’t watch this shit on TV anymore, I have to be a part of this. I can’t be afraid for my life because of a piece of shit driving his muscle car through people. Fuck that dude.”
After approximately two hours, the white nationalist group never showed up. Protestors gave thanks to all who came to support and began to converse, pass out stickers and encourage others to sign the banner. The group dispersed, and soon after, Bluff Park was back to its quiet state.
Perry Continente contributed to this article.
The Daily 49er staff asks counter protestors why they gathered at Bluff Park.
Video by: Alberto Nunez, Perry Continente and Tianna Hampton