EL CAJON— On July 25, conservatives in El Cajon held a "We Are Israel" rally, with Donald Trump's CIA Director/Secretary of State Mike Pompeo headlining. Conservative gubernatorial candidate for California Larry Elder and El Cajon mayor Bill Wells were billed to speak as well. The event was organized by Shield of David, a San Diego based pro-Israel group.
In response, Palestinian supporters and leftist activists scheduled a rally on the same day called "Down with Zionism/Racism/White Supremacy.” The counter protest started in a park within marching distance of the "We Are Israel" rally. Palestinian Youth Movement and other organizers gave several speeches before the march to the "We Are Israel" rally began. Before the march even started, vehicles sporting right wing flags circled the park, sometimes escorted by El Cajon Police. Then, the march was underway.
Palestinian supporters chanted “when people are occupied, resistance is justified” as well as “no justice, no peace, no racist police!”
As the Palestinian supporters moved closer to the "We Are Israel" rally, it was apparent that an upcoming roadblock would impede their progress. But this roadblock was not being manned by El Cajon Police. It was manned by white supremacist militants and far right extremists. Members from groups like Exiled Patriots, the Proud Boys, and Neo-Nazi affiliated American Guard were all present at this roadblock. El Cajon Police had two officers present, who walked next to a white supremacist armed with a knife, and then exited the area. A few blocks further down the road, a larger police presence could be seen. But local police were completely hands-off when it came to this militant roadblock.
The core group of Palestinian supporters held position across the intersection from the road block. A group of black bloc activists stepped forward beyond the intersection in the interest of protecting the pro-Palestine march from the armed militants, who were loudly making threats and grabbing flag poles, bear mace and knives. A brawl soon broke out. Many groups claimed that the black-clad anti-fascist activists started the fight, but video evidence proves that far right extremists attacked both anti-fascists and press before anti-fascist activists responded in self defense. The ensuing brawl saw fists and bear mace flying from both sides. Police did not come anywhere near the street fights.
The skirish soon ended as anti-fascists hold their ground and far right extremists lose ground and retreat. Many people on both sides of the brawl, as well as members of the press, were severely bear maced.
As the fighting simmered down, both groups returned to their respective sides and there were no more clashes. Palestinian supporters continued to march back to the park they started at, and far right extremists returned to their "We Are Israel" rally.
Now, the question is who gave authorization for far right militants, not police, to man a roadblock towards a conservative rally. The El Cajon police department and the "We Are Israel" rally organizer's deny collaborating with any of these far right militants who were blocking access to this event.
However, one far right extremist leader from the brawls claims he was given a security breakdown from the organizers "Shield of David." Leaked messages and a video blog made by Exiled Patriots leader Mike Foronzo make the allegation that conservative organizers were in communication with and collaborating with Foranzo himself.
If these allegations are true, it would mean a speech by the former head of the CIA and secretary of state had far right extremists working their security. It is certainly possible Foranzo and his Exiled Patriots are lying in order to raise their profile, but it's worth noting that Foranzo and the other far right extremists from the roadblock were filmed shaking hands with the mayor of the city (who also spoke at the "We Are Israel" rally) right before the brawls broke out.
Not only are the Exiled Patriots present, also visible is Kris Wyrick, who is a member of the Neo-Nazi affiliated American Guard. Kris is also the one who started the brawl.
Whether or not it was officially sanctioned, the fact of the matter is that these far right extremists, Proud Boys, and even Neo-Nazi affiliates were in charge of that roadblock. Not El Cajon Police. Not private security. Not "Shield of David" organizers. Whether or not these groups collaborated officially or unofficially, the result was the same: far right extremists engaging in violence and claiming to have the authority to shut down roads, under police supervision. And that precedent, especially when such a high profile speaker like Mike Pompeo is present, should be extremely alarming to everyone.