Gun pulled and man maced in the face as Neo-Nazis, ‘White Lives Matter’ protesters and Proud Boys clash with rainbow-clad LGBTQ supporters at a family drag event in Ohio
- Billed as the ‘Rock-n-Roll Humanist Drag Queen Story Hour’, the all-ages drag show was held in Wadsworth Memorial Park just outside of Akron Saturday
- Tensions remained high and threatened to boil over as protesters vastly outnumbered supporters, and a series of filmed clashes saw two arrested
- Recorded by journalists who attended the event, the increasingly rowdy altercations resulted in the two being charged with disorderly conduct
Violence broke out at a drag storytelling event over the weekend between various anti-drag protesters and activists defending the event, in a series of filmed clashes that saw two arrested.
Billed as the ‘Rock-n-Roll Humanist Drag Queen Story Hour’, the all-ages drag show was held in Wadsworth Memorial Park just outside of Akron Saturday over the course of several hours, during which tensions remained high and threatened to boil over at several points as protesters vastly outnumbered supporters.
Many were armed with weapons, and several shouted hateful slurs and gave Nazi salutes, as guns were pointed and mace deployed in a series of scuffles the broke out toward the end of the four-hour event.
Recorded by journalists who attended the event, the increasingly rowdy altercations resulted in men from both sides being arrested and later charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
Those charges stemmed from a series of recorded melees including one in which a protester wearing medieval body armor was maced by an attendee, and another where a man pulled a gun and threatened to shoot several event supporters.
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That said, the event in a small city which serves as a sort of conservative outpost from its much larger, Dem-led neighbor a few miles east, was held as scheduled, despite drawing on social media in the days building up to the violence.
Days earlier, in a letter sent to residents, the city of Wadsworth confirmed in a public statement that there would be a stark police presence at the event, and warned residents that it could grow out of hand.
‘After much discussion and legal review, we have no choice but to let the event take place,’ Wadsworth Public Safety Director Matt Hiscock and Wadsworth Police Chief Dan Chafin told the city’s roughly 24,000 residents.
The officials further advised that everyday residents should not attend, saying that residents ‘should avoid being in the park if at all possible.’
The pair’s warning, however, seemingly fell on deaf ears – as more than 200 protesters descended on the small park Saturday, hailing from various hate groups including the neo-Nazi-aligned ‘Blood Tribe’ and White Lives Matter of Ohio.
Other organizations seen in attendance included the white nationalist Patriot Front, the Proud Boys and several unaffiliated conservative groups – many of whose members sought to distance themselves from their more radical counterparts.
Vehicles seen littering the police-occupied event sported out-of-state license plates, while Police Chief Chafin said officers from his department nearby Medina city and county lost track of those in attendance at around 200 people.
Chafin confirmed Sunday that his department made two arrests during the ordeal, but said they could not comment on the men’s identities pending further investigation.
Protesters were seen toting signs bearing messages such as ‘White lives matter’ and ‘Mothers against grooming,’ referring to the alleged process of building trust with children or families with the ultimate goal of abusing children sexually.
Supporters, meanwhile -many of who grew violent at the sight of arriving hate groups – told reporters that the event’s purpose was ‘not to turn children gay but to keep gay children alive.’
Others protested the age appropriateness of people in drag reading to kids, while saying they were ‘shocked’ at the sort of radical groups the event had attracted.
The Proud Boys, for instance – an all-male neo-fascist organization known for its repeated clashes for its far-right nemesis Antifa – distanced themselves from white nationalist groups such as the red-clad neo-Nazi Blood tribe, waring them repeatedly to physically stay away.
When that group, led by known neo-Nazi Chris Pohlhaus, arrived, dozens of officers tasked with keeping the peace reportedly had to rush to their defense, as they received threats from their fellow anti-drag activists.
Amid the tense schisms on the anti-drag front, few of demonstrators could be heard hurling commands at the more brazen and openly hateful nationalist groups, shouting ‘Nazis, go home’ and other heated instructions.
In one recorded encounter, a member from Ohio’s White Lives Matter showed similar ideologial differences from more non-race related groups like the Proud Boys and the Patriot Front.
‘We’re all here for the same reason,’ a White Lives Matter Ohio members tells a nearby Proud boy.
‘We are, but go over that way,’ the Proud Boy replied, seeming deterred by some of the signage the group had been touting, which bore phrases such as ‘unity or extinction’ and ‘children & fa**ots don’t mix.’
‘They’re civic nationalists,’ explained a White Lives member, who accused organizers of engaging in pedophilia by holding the event. ‘We’re white nationalists.’
White nationalist group Patriot Front also made an appearance towards the end of the four hour show, with members sporting masks and a sign that read ‘Victory or death.’
The more radical Blood Tribe, joined by some other white Nationalists from unnamed hate groups, slammed those and other conservative groups including Republicans from Akron as ‘weak,’ egging on supporters by waving Nazi flags and repeatedly shouting ‘heil Hitler.’
Despite the volatile amalgam of ideologies, no one was injured as a result of violence at the event – though one person twisted a knee and another had a seizure, with both receiving treatment onsite by paramedics., Chafin said Sunday.
The chief added that two people who attended the even were arrested, with one of the suspects in support of the show and another who was there to protest.
The identity of the men has not yet been released – though footage of their arrests and the violent encounters that preceded them was posted to social media by a documentarian chronicling the various clashes that transpired.
The first, filmed altercation begins neither of the two men, but instead an unidentified anti-drag protester wearing medieval body armor to resemble a crusader, who is seen approaching a crowd of attendees in one clip.
As the protester nears the crowd, a volunteer is seen unleashing mace on the armored man, who immediately moves away and holds his face in his hands,
At this point, the protester who would eventually be arrested – seen in the footage with tan overalls – pulls what appears to be a handgun from his person before pointing it at the group of attendees.
Cops later identified that metallic object as a .22 caliber pistol, with witnesses saying the man was a member of Republicans for Akron. A police officer is seen only feet away from the suspect during the altercation, though his eyes are trained elsewhere on a another clashing.
Police proceded to pull the maced man aside before letting him got, though the man in overalls is later seen coming face to face with another person supporting the event, this one a woman.
The pair proceed to yell at each other, before a man in a rainbow suit suddenly appears from behind the woman and seemingly attempts to strike the Akron Republican, who reportedly attended the event with his 12-year-old son.
The colorfully-clad man and the conservative father were both promptly cuffed and led into nearby squad cars, and are facing charges of disorderly conduct – a misdemeanor.
Aside from that unrest – which police said occurred toward the end of the controversial event – went through as planned. Officials acknowledge the footage seen of the anti-drag suspect brandishing the gun online, and said they are probing the incidnet.
Kristopher Anderson, a Republican from Akron who has run for local and state office, confirmed Sunday that the man seen toting the weapon was part of the conservative group. He said he was surprised when he and others arrived to see the outflow of Nazi’s supporting the planned protests, which many advertised on Facebook.
‘Around noon, out of our complete shock, we had the white supremacist and white Nazi groups show up,’ Anderson told the Akron Beacon Journal. He added that member of his group had not associated with any of those espousing more radical views.
‘We were chanting “don’t groom your kids” and all those other things,” said Anderson, who described the other more hateful messages being preached as a ‘distraction more than anything.’
‘We weren’t all on one side,’ Anderson said of the many groups protesting the event. ‘These were like factions against an issue.’
DailyMail.com has reached out to the Wadsworth Police Department for an update with the case.