2 law enforcement officers were injured Monday at the California state Capitol while members of the Occupy movement opposed a rally by another group protesting violence by whites against blacks in South Africa, according to an Associated Press report.
The situation got heated as police officers escorted 35 members of the South Africa Project to a parking garage after their protest outside the state Capitol building.
During the escort, approximately 50 members of the Occupy Oakland movement threw bottles and cans at the officers. The Occupy members then quarrelled with officers as the members of the South Africa project were rushed into the parking garage.
Two officers suffered minor injuries and were taken to a hospital. One of which was struck in the face by an object, presumably thrown by an Occupy member. He has since been released from the hospital. The other injured officer went to get X-rays after attempting to apprehend a person suspected of throwing objects.
CHP officer Sean Kennedy said the officer who was struck by an object may have also been hit with some type of chemical or pepper spray.
As a result, the officers arrested three members of the group on suspicion of disobeying an officer.
The violence subsided after additional law enforcement personnel arrived at the scene. It followed a tense afternoon originally mollified by police separation.
The members of the South Africa Project were attempting to draw attention to black-on-white violence that is allegedly occurring within that country. Organizers said similar demonstrations were planned in other states and elsewhere in California.
The group was predominantly male and white. Some had shaved heads and prominent tattoos.
Several Occupy protesters, some of whom wore hoods or masks, said they came from the San Francisco Bay area to counter what they believed to be a racist group that had ties with former Louisiana Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
One of the Occupy protesters, Ryan Stark, 26, who said he joined the counter-protest because "there needed to be a showdown."
"I didn't throw anything ... but these sorts of demonstrations need to happen," Stark said. "They do have the right to say what they want, but we're not going to let it fly."
Further, police officers worked diligently to keep the public away from the scene of the clash.
Considering the racially charged motivations between the 2 protesting groups it is fortunate that the number of reported injuries can be counted on one hand. As a result of this incident in Sacramento, you can bet that the future protests by the members of the South Africa Project that are to take place soon in California and throughout the nation will have and require ramped up security.
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