Protesters, counter-protesters clash in downtown Seattle

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Seattle police have made a string of arrests and confiscated weapons as opposing groups of protesters converged downtown on Sunday.

As hundreds gathered in the area, police ordered the protesters and counter-protesters in the area to disperse. Officers used pepper spray and “blast balls,” similar to flash-bang grenades, in an effort to keep the two groups away from each other, The Seattle Times reported. 

One rally was organized by pro-Trump group Patriot Prayer. The counter-protest was planned by Solidarity Against Hate. Both events were planned prior to Saturday’s deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va.

A barricade separated the two groups in downtown Seattle, where law enforcement stood by dressed in riot gear. It’s unclear exactly how many arrests they made.

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People carrying signs opposing the KKK and showing support for Charlottesville marched to downtown Seattle where the Patriot Prayer’s rally was stationed, rallying in support of free speech and freedom.

The pro-Trump group has held similar events throughout the Pacific Northwest, often drawing counter-protesters.

Meantime, in Denver, several hundred demonstrators gathered beneath a statue of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in City Park and marched about two miles to the state Capitol. In Fort Collins, Colorado, marchers chanted “Everyone is welcome here. No hate, no fear.” One demonstrator’s sign said, “Make racists ashamed again.”

Other protests were planned later in the day in other places, including candlelight vigils in Winter Haven, Florida, and near the New Hampshire Statehouse. Other demonstrations centered on confederate statues on the state Capitol grounds in West Virginia and in Tampa, Florida; officials in Tampa have voted to relocate theirs.

Charlottesville descended into violence Saturday after neo-Nazis, skinheads, Ku Klux Klan members and other white nationalists gathered to “take America back” and oppose plans to remove a Confederate statue in the Virginia college town, and hundreds of other people came to protest the rally. The groups clashed in street brawls, with hundreds of people throwing punches, hurling water bottles and beating each other with sticks and shields.

Eventually, a car rammed into a peaceful crowd of anti-white-nationalist protesters, killing a woman. A state police helicopter monitoring the events crashed into the woods, killing two troopers. In all, dozens of people were injured. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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