Just pulling up to Laguna Beach before the America First! Electric Vigil even started let you feel the tension. Conservatives holding Trump and American flags made their way to their meeting spot at Main Beach around 4:30p.m., with counter-protestors. And the shouting matches began immediately.
There were no police in sight at first, as media swarmed like flies on shit around organizer Juan Cadavid a.k.a. Johnny Benitez for tired old canards about illegal immigrants. Things really popped off when an indigenous rights protester walked onto the beach with a megaphone to taunt the vigil attendees until he approached Cadavid.
"Punch me, bitch!" the protester said to him. "You a bald head fuckin' immigrant, you ain't gonna do shit. You look like that skinny guy from Fight Club, but you not Brad Pitt; you that little dork."
Cadavid used the moment to point out the Left are always the ones to start the violence, conveniently forgetting how his fellow travelers assaulted OC Weekly reporters at the March 25 #MAGAMarch in HB. The megaphone-wielding protestor continued to clown on the members of the alt-right, challenging them to hit him (much like the white-supremacist DIY Division did during the #MAGAMarch to antifa protestors), but no one took the first swing for fear of being arrested. Police finally showed up, creating a line between the protester and the alt-right and asked him to head to the other side of the beach with the other leftist protesters.
Antifa then showed up to try and march into the vigil (much like conservative activists did to them at the—yep—#MAGAMarch) only to be blocked by the police and being forced to head towards the leftist corral. Three members of the alt-right dressed in military type gear followed the antifa down the boardwalk, stopping at a half-way point between the area now designated for the vigil and the area designated for the protesters.
They began preparing to fight, with one man putting on a bandana and another one putting on weighted gloves as police looked on. They taunted anyone they felt was a leftist, yet all of them were too afraid to head into the area where the antifa actually were. Another flag-wielding man joined them, but every time leftists approached the men to argue, police formed a line between the arguments. Meanwhile, a man claiming he helped organize the vigil got angry when he saw a man with Nazi tattoos had shown up to the event.
"This isn't the image we're trying to portray," The Stetson-wearing "organizer" told the Nazi. "We're not racists...I'm proud of my heritage, too, but I'm not out here trying to be a supremacist like you are obviously by putting ink on your skin...I just want to be clear, people with Nazi symbols and fascism is not what this party is here to do. We're here to represent the victims of illegal immigrants killing people and American citizens."
The Nazi argued he was an American, and had a right to freedom of speech, and you could see he was upset for being denounced by the Right, which made him put his 'I Love Hate' T-shirt back on.
Back at the alt-right site, left-wingers argued with America First! types as they gripped their flag poles waiting to strike at any second. As the taunts from the Left got louder and things felt like they were about to jump off, police came through to save the alt-right by giving them a way back to the vigil area. A cholo with the leftists yelled at one of the white alt-righter's as they retreated, "Ay, take those fuckin' Locs off, that's a Mexican thing."
After I followed them back to the area designated for the vigil, six alt-righters seemed to grow suspicious of lil' ol' me. They asked if I was antifa, which I denied and responded I was media. They asked where my press badge was and then asked what media outlet I was from. Like the G'd-up-from-the-feet-up Anacrimer that I am, I couldn't rank out at this moment even if it meant a repeat of Huntington Beach. I told them I was OC Weekly and one instantly quipped "OC Weekly? Basically Antifa."
(Nah, bruh: We're Marxists of the Groucho variety)
"You going to call us a bunch of Nazis?" one asked as another chimed in, "Your momma let you out here to come do this story?'
I walked away as they called me a pimp and a drug dealer, ostensibly because the ads in our classifieds section (I don't see them, but funny they do!). They told as many people as they could that I was OC Weekly, with one going so far as to take a picture of me (I just hope I didn't look fat). Meanwhile, yelling matches started up again on the sand, with a man with a megaphone yelling such things as "If you like Mexico so much go there" and "why do you hate our borders? Why do you hate our country?'
An old woman tried to calm down Megaphone Man by talking to him calmly and putting her hand on his arm. He responded by telling her to get away from him and saying "You're not going to cop a cheap feel, old lady!"
The crowd drowned him out with boos as the police separated protesters from Megaphone Man. He eventually retreated back into the vigil zone later taunting me by calling me a "scribbler" for the Weekly and yelling, "He's one of the liars for Orange County Weekly."
Meanwhile, Cadavid was milking up all the press he could get, and got caught in a big fib when he told a camera crew "the people who are here...they're here to fight white supremacists and they must be very disappointed that there aren't any here."
No manches, Juanito. Then how do you explain the Nazi seen earlier on in the rally? Or the guy up above with a big' ol Iron Cross on his neck? How do you explain you greeting and standing next to the Hammerskins who showed up for the vigil?
Arguments reminiscent of the bullshit you hear hipsters getting angry about in coffee shops echoed across the the beach, as a man in all-black and a motorcycle helmet paced around packing multiple weapons. A knife could be see on his belt line as he gripped a metal cane. He made the mistake of getting too close to the police line at which point officers picked him up on to the boardwalk and began searching him. They arrested him after they found what looked like two knives, a large metal chain with a lock on it and his metal cane.
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Things got pretty damn boring after that, with police managing to separate everyone. The MVP from Laguna Beach Police Department was Sergeant Eric Lee, who put himself in the middle of almost every confrontation I saw. Cadavid chose to stay outside of the safety zone, continuing to argue with people past 8 p.m. even though a woman with a megaphone kept asking him to come into the vigil area. The final comment that sent him packing was when a man called him out about him being anti-immigration by saying "You're climbing the ladder and pulling it up behind you. You said it yourself, you're an immigrant."
Cadavid was mad-triggered by this comment, calling the man a "cocksucker," then angrily walking into the safety of the vigil zone with fellow vendida Irma Hinojosa. As the beaches cleared, the only thing remaining was the vigil attendees yelling back and forth with the protesters. The Weekly packed it up for the night, and overheard a heard a protester tell his friend, "If they were anywhere else in Orange County, they wouldn't be able to do this shit."
PS. On their 11 p.m. broadcast, KNBC-TV Channel 4 aired of a bearded man wearing a Stussy jersey attacking two different members of the alt-right. Who knew a hipster would take a swing before any masked-up antifa?