What was meant to be a peaceful rally to support Israel in Los Angeles on Sunday erupted in chaos when a group of men waving Palestinian flags reportedly attacked demonstrators with long wooden sticks, reports Jewish Journal.
Approximately 1,200 people attended the pro-Israel rally, which took place in front of the Federal Building in Westwood. The event was said to have been peaceful until three or four men -- who were presumably partaking in a pro-Palestinian rally with about 200 others held across the street -- reportedly drove past in a truck displaying Palestinian flags. After a pro-Israeli protester allegedly snatched a flag away, the pro-Palestinian protesters tried to get their flag back – which spurred the violence that followed, reports NBC Los Angeles.
Several pro-Israel attendees claim they were attacked with pointy long wooden sticks, though there were no reports of injuries. When police stepped in to break up the violence, the men carrying flags reportedly fled back to their truck and drove off. As they did so, witnesses say a Department of Homeland Security officer fired a gun in the direction of their truck.
The men are all thought to be Palestinians living in Anaheim, according to Hany Rafai, who was riding in the truck but reportedly got out of it before police apprehended the men. The men could be charged with felony assault.
This weekend’s pro-Israeli rally was one of the largest that ever took place in Los Angeles. It was organized by StandWithUs, IAC, and several pro-Israel organizations.