Story by Ford Fischer, with Reporting contributed by Heather Mullins
Today hundreds of antifa activists faced off with a coalition of right wing groups in front of the Rhode Island State House in Providence. The right wing groups, which included Proud Boys, American Guard, Boston Free Speech, and Resist Marxism, intended to rally from noon to 2pm.
“We have to whoop antifa, and we have to support free speech,” said one activist dressed head to toe as Spiderman.
Antifa used white paint as a weapon first, covering both police and right-wingers. As clashed continued between the two sides, urine was also deployed from a bottle toward Proud Boys and press.
“Fascists, go home!” antifa chanted at the group, particularly honing in on Joey Gibson, the founder of Patriot Prayer.
“These people over hear think all of these people are fascists. A few of them are actual nazis but some of them are misguided libertarians,” said Gregg Housh, a left wing activist.
A few major scuffles broke out, causing both sides to use fists and clubs, while antifa also deployed at least two smoke grenades and at least one individual deployed mace.
Police stood by during the clashes, watching closely without intervening, until they declared the entire event unlawful, and gave activists on all sides ten minutes to disburse.
“We were outnumbered, but we stood our ground, we ain’t bending a knee,” said Tusitala “Tiny” Toese – a Patriot Prayer member – into his phone. “When we said we’d die on our feet rather than living on our knees, we gonna do it.”
“Tiny” initiated a fight earlier in the day that was not witnessed by News2Share but was captured by a Youtube account called Steve Ahlquist and referred to Ford Fischer by a Twitter account called Official Alt-Left.
This clip was referred to me in the last few minutes on Twitter. To be clear, I didn’t record it, but it appears to show one scuffle being initiated by Tusitala “Tiny” Toese – a Patriot Prayer member. This was before the majority of the right-wing activists and press arrived. pic.twitter.com/Zc1jkUOzQH
— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) October 6, 2018
“They didn’t do a damn thing,” Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson said of the police. “Except kick us out.”
“We asked them, we said ‘hey, this is the hecklers’ veto. This is how the opposition shuts this down,'” said organizer Samson Racioppi. “So they let us have some speakers but the whole time it was just out of control. There was constant violence in the protesters. We never got to have all the people who came here to see our people speak, to have them speak.”
“They ordered us to leave, and we obliged because we didn’t want to make a bad situation worse.”