As per NBC Los Angeles, the rally was part of a disorganized effort from far-right extremists that was ultimately outnumbered by counter-protesters. The “White Lives Matter” rally was scheduled for 1 p.m. local time, but 200 counter-protesters turned up two hours earlier. Some of them were associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, and had turned up to make sure the racist demonstrators didn’t feel welcome in the city.
As can be seen in videos shared on social media, counter-protesters yelled “Go home Nazis” at the far-right demonstrators as they were surrounded and outnumbered.
The turnout from the far-right extremists was very low in comparison, and after a number of arrests the event was declared an unlawful assembly by 2:30 p.m. as unrest between the two groups continued. A small number of counter-protesters were arrested, according to Lt. Brian Smith of the Huntington Beach P.D., who told freelance journalist Pierce Singgih that one was for a noise infraction, while another was for “impeding an officer.”
At least one counter-protester was arrested for the alleged possession of a weapon, police told NBC.
NBC News reports that “White Lives Matter” rallies were organized for cities across the country on Sunday, with neo-Nazis are far-right extremists saying the events would make “the whole world tremble.” In reality, hardly anyone showed up to these rallies, and one such plan for New York City saw a group of less than 20 people arrive for such a “White Lives Matter” march outside of Trump Tower.
Flyers for the event recycled images from the since-disbanded neo-Nazi group Vanguard America. The Anti-Defamation League reported that the “White Lives Matter” slogan first surfaced in 2015 from neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan groups, and has been deemed “a racist response to the Black Lives Matter movement.” These rallies were organized through encrypted messaging app Telegram, although two large channels in Philadelphia and New York City have since been found to be traps manufactured by anti-fascist activists.
In the lead-up to the rally in Huntington Beach, some residents found flyers promoting the Ku Klux Klan near their homes. A community meeting was held prior to the event, with city official denouncing such displays but ultimately allowed the event to go ahead as planned.