Monday, August 21, 2017
NBC LA reports that Hundreds of people divided between a crowd rallying against illegal immigration and a throng of counter-protesters opposing their stance squared off Sunday along the Laguna Beach shoreline.
The "America First'' event that started at 6 p.m. and continued into twilight was mostly peaceful, although one arrest was made at the scene.
On the anti-illegal immigration side, organizer Johnny Benitez of Orange County said the group hoped to keep the gathering -- their fifth rally in Laguna Beach -- peaceful. All of the group's previous demonstrations went off without incident.
Police weren't taking any chances, however, with nearly 100 officers from five different agencies on the site of the confrontation at Broadway and Pacific Coast Highway.
A number of those protesting illegal immigration were wearing "Make America Great Again'' hats and flying red flags. They talked about the need to represent and honor victims of violence at the hands of illegal immigrants as well as the burden they said undocumented people can place on the economy.
Counter-protestors waved signs with messages such as "Hate will never make us great'' and "The future is inclusive.'' They tied ribbons around trees and lampposts and a peace sign was constructed on the beach from seaweed.
Today's event was preceded by a Saturday gathering in the same location that called for unity in Laguna Beach.