Joey Gibson had a rough weekend.
The Vancouver-Wash.-based organizer of a right-wing extremist group traveled to San Francisco on Saturday for the latest stop in traveling protests that have emboldened white supremacists, enraged leftists and alarmed minority communities.
But on Sunday, Gibson was met in Berkeley, Calif. by thousands of counterprotesters and hundreds of black-clad anarchists. The masked anarchists, described by some media as antifascists, attacked Gibson with pepper spray. Gibson hid behind a line of riot police, who then escorted him from park in handcuffs.
Berkeley police told local media outlets that Gibson was not arrested, and that his handcuffing was deemed a "rescue."
Gibson could not immediately be reached for comment. Reporters in the Bay Area tell WW he was taken to a local hospital.
"There were several eyewitnesses, including [Reveal host] Al Letson, who saw Joey Gibson get beat up after arriving at the scene," says John Sepulvado, a reporter for San Francisco radio station KQED. "When I spoke to him shortly after, he told me he was on the way to the hospital."
At least one Portlander was arrested: Sean Dougan, 47. It's not clear what side Dougan was fighting on.
The San Francisco Chronicle described Gibson's day this way:
Among those assaulted was Joey Gibson, the leader of the Patriot Prayer group, which canceled a Saturday rally and was then prevented from holding a news conference when authorities closed off the public square Gibson planned to use. Gibson has denounced racism and said he launched Patriot Prayer after several supporters of President Donald Trump were beaten at a Trump campaign stop in San Jose, California, last year. Authorities nonetheless feared the group’s event could attract white nationalists, as it has in the past. After the anarchists spotted Gibson at the Berkeley park, they pepper-sprayed him and chased him out as he backed away with his hands held in the air. Gibson rushed behind a line of police wearing riot gear, who set off a smoke bomb to drive away the anarchists.
Gibson is the leader of Patriot Prayer, a Vancouver-based group that has traveled the West Coast for much of the year, holding "free speech" rallies that are thinly-veiled pretexts for street brawls with antifa protesters.
Gibson planned to hold another such event Saturday, but it was cancelled when San Francisco officials noted it had failed to obtain a permit.
His next event? It's scheduled for Sept. 10, in downtown Portland.