Several injured after tensions rise at ‘Free Speech’ rally in SF

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

Organizers called it the “Free Speech” rally.

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.

Protesters met at San Francisco’s United Nations Plaza around 1 p.m. Team Save America organized the rally to protest Twitter, which it said squelches conservative speech.

Counter protesters met prior to the planned event and tensions quickly escalated, according to several videos posted to social media and the Citizen App.

San Francisco police say counter protesters threw glass bottles, plastic bottles with liquid, metal cans and eggs at free speech protesters and police.

Counter protesters also attempted to knock over the barricade line separating the two opposing sides.

Police say the rally became too violent so they declared a public safety hazard and shut it down.

Philip Anderson, the lead organizer, along with other participants were escorted from the area, but police say counter protesters continued to act aggressively.

Philip Anderson, one of the organizers of the “Free Speech” event, was seen on video getting punched by counter protesters.

Anderson later tweeted: “Antifa attacked me for no reason.”

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.

Police say several rally participants sustained non life-threatening injuries. Three SFPD officers were pepper sprayed and sustained non life-threatening injuries.

One officer was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

At this time, no arrests have been made.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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