Originally scheduled to happen at Dolores Park, Saturday afternoon's "Free Speech Rally" — which was allegedly attended by some members of the Proud Boys and a few QAnon figures — was sparsely attended... and didn't last all that long, either.
And Philip Anderson, the young pro-Trump Black man from Mesquite, Texas who helped organize the event on behalf of others from Team Save America, was also struck squarely in the face; one of his teeth was, coincidentally enough, freed after the blow.
Philip Anderson, a free speech rally leader, punched by counter protester and pushed back into barricaded area at UN Plaza in SF. Rally has not started yet. #ProudBoys #SanFrancisco pic.twitter.com/NcNopIyDAX— Denis Ivan Perez (@dpi_19) October 17, 2020
As reported by KPIX, members of the conservative right (among them a few alleged members of the Proud Boys) descended on SF's United Nations Plaza and later marched the street alongside Twitter’s headquarters to stand for free speech — though, in support of a seemingly misguided connotation of it — and against the social media giant's policies on hate speech and fake news. SFPD was present and barricades were installed to somewhat contain the event.
Right wing free speech rally didn’t last long. Toothless Anderson and crew escorted away, protesters take to streets and march to Twitter HQ. pic.twitter.com/4SajHc5Q7N— Denis Ivan Perez (@dpi_19) October 17, 2020
Per the Chronicle, the group of present Trump supporters was quickly outnumbered by what appeared to be hundreds of anti-fascist protesters. Earlier in the week after rumors circulated on social media that a Proud Boys, pro-Trump-skewed rally would be taking place in the city, members of local anti-fascist groups collectively organized a counter-protest to outshine the display. Based on the turnout — a number that handily eclipsed those put forth by Team Save America — the call to action proved successful.
At about 1 p.m., the Chronicle notes Anderson took to the makeshift stage and gave his remarks; he was promptly treated with a barrage of plastic and glass bottles that were catapulted over the barricade.
“You knocked my tooth out but you’re saying Black lives matter,” Anderson said in his fifteen-minute-long speech, per the newspaper. "I love America and I love this country, but I want free speech.”
After his words, counter-protesters soon attempted to overtake the barricade, but were met by a line of police in riot gear. Other "Free Speech Rally" organizers, several of whom appear to be QAnon figures, took to the stage for speeches as well — though, like in the case with Anderson's public speaking endeavor, those addresses were drowned out by chants from separate rally members and those who identified as Antifa supporters.
Eventually, the whole Team Save America shindig came to an early, anti-climactic end. This, too, is when counter-protesters (whose numbers only increased as the pro-Trump rally continued), created a shield line — made of pastel protective paraphernalia — and began marching along Market Street toward the Embarcadero.
Check out some of tweets cataloging the event's hiccups, squalls, and tooth-removing punches, below:
There was then a bit of pushing and shoving between the cops and the crowd. pic.twitter.com/77Elhm1M7C— Michael Williams (@michaeldamianw) October 18, 2020
Counter protesters at the Free Speech America Rally at Civic Center. pic.twitter.com/clmPqlKWXk— Mallory Moench (@mallorymoench) October 17, 2020
Image: Courtesy of Twitter via Bay Area Protest (@protestpix)