Filed under: Action, Anti-fascist, Featured, Police, Southwest, Trans
A report from several anarchist and antifascist collectives across the so-called Los Angeles area reflecting on recent mobilizations against far-Right and neo-fascist groups attempting to capitalize off the spread of an anti-trans hoax video.
In late June of 2021, a transphobic video was uploaded onto the internet and quickly went viral. The video appeared to show a woman harassing the staff of Wi Spa in Los Angeles, allegedly because a transgender woman was using the correct changing room at a spa known for catering to the LGBTQ community. The veracity of this event has been disputed; there is no evidence that a transgender woman was in attendance at the spa that day and local journalists have reported that the video was likely a hoax. Further investigations have revealed that the woman who shot the video is tied to AstroTurf pro-GOP groups.
Right-wing media group behind promoting the Wi Spa hoax + running press was CURE America Action, backed by the Heritage Foundation. As with the campaign against CRT, this seems to be a calculated move to push anti-trans legislation argues @brooklynmarie. https://t.co/4fuSNgURim
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) July 28, 2021
Despite it’s likely in-authenticity, the video was quickly shared by far-Right grifters on social media, culminating in the story being picked up on prime time television by the most-watched white supremacist in the world, Tucker Carlson. This coverage inspired a group of local Los Angeles fascists to host a “protest” of the spa on July 3rd at 11 am. The protest was a thinly veiled hate rally against transgender women, accusing them (in a nod to the Qanon conspiracy) of being pedophiles.
In the wake of the spotlight from far-Right media, the threats of death and violence came swiftly. A local antifascist trans woman was incorrectly identified as the trans woman attending the spa “in” the video and soon was flooded with a barrage of violent threats. In response, SoCal Antifa and other autonomous affinity groups called for a counter-protest starting at 10 am on July 3rd.
Fascists are planning a transphobic action in Los Angeles on July 3rd. We'll gather to counter their action! Los Angeles is an anti-fascist and anti-transphobic city! 🏴🏳️⚧️🏳️🌈#SmashTrasphobia#SmashFascism pic.twitter.com/ucHQSV7EeQ
— A.A.R.F ⍟ Autonomous Anarchist Revolutionary Front (@AARF_LA) June 29, 2021
Two hours before the initial far-Right protest against Wi Spa began, antifascist counter-protestors convened at the entrance of the business and dozens more strategically placed themselves at each corner of Wilshire and Rampart to keep an eye out for chuds or any right-wing media that might potentially harass the Spa staff or patrons. For two hours, activists and antifascists rallied in front of the Wi Spa showing solidarity with the LGBTQ community while one lone chud stood across the street, clearly outnumbered by the much larger, pro-trans crowd. Soon after, one antifascist was approached by a far-Right counter-protester, who proceeded to pull out a can of mace and unload it into the antifascists’ face.
One of the transphobes pulled out mace and was taken down onto the ground by several counter protesters. Wi Spa security broke up the scuffle.
The transphobe was asked to leave by security. pic.twitter.com/VB0UPWDZyM
— Vishal P. Singh (They/He) (@VPS_Reports) July 3, 2021
After this first engagement, the chud was chased off, and the antifascist received medical treatment from nearby medics who helped try to relieve the stinging toxin from his eyes and face. Soon after the incident, more antifascists started to arrive at Wi Spa while anti-trans protesters began to convene at the corner of Wilshire Blvd and Rampart. They were soon pushed back to the other side of the street by antifascists. It was at this point, where one of the Trump supporters reached into his friend’s backpack and pulled out a handgun and concealed it in his pants.
BREAKING: Just had a gun pulled on us by transphobes at Wi Spa. He reached into a backpack and grabbed it. When I asked him what he grabbed, he said “something to shoot you with” to me. pic.twitter.com/hCcTXtPN7V
— Vishal P. Singh (They/He) (@VPS_Reports) July 3, 2021
Far-Right protesters soon left the area around Wi Spa and one livestreamer was quickly expelled as well, as cop cars converged at the scene but found nothing and left. An ambulance approached one block away from Wi Spa to attend to an unknown assailant. After that, religious zealots led by hate preacher Ruben Israel started approaching Wi Spa but were soon met by antifascists and other activists who pushed them off of the sidewalk.
Fascist grifter @MrAndyNgo wants to paint the bloodied up man in blue as a peaceful preacher.
That man assaulted 2 femmes, slamming 1 of their heads into a tree.
— Vishal P. Singh (They/He) (@VPS_Reports) July 5, 2021
After a cool down period, a handful of police started amassing near La Fayette park where more religious zealots began to converge as well. This group was met by antifascists, as scuffles broke out and far-Right signs were taken. One particular hate preacher pushed a woman in the crowd, as antifascists moved to immediately defend her, pushing her assailant across the sidewalk and up against a fence as his accomplices tried to break loose but were left bloodied and retreating down the sidewalk, were they walked back to La Fayette park to hide behind the police for protection. One antifascist passed out due to the heatwave, but was quickly attended to by local medics and revived instantaneously.
Here’s a comprehensive breakdown by @directedbyrocky of all of the far right assaults against press and pro-LGBT+ counter protesters during the Wi Spa clash over transgender rights.
Here’s attacks number 1 through 14. pic.twitter.com/4pMFYzMoiC
— Vishal P. Singh (They/He) (@VPS_Reports) July 12, 2021
Meanwhile, more fascists wearing heavy gear begin to arrive at MacArthur Park, but were immediately pushed back by antifascists. Equipped with knives, bats and body armor, the chuds carried out attacks against multiple people and one Proud Boy also managed to stab one of their own members in the middle of a melee. Shortly after, some comrades rolled a dumpster into the street and it was set on fire as a line of riot police approached. Afterwards everyone dispersed. The counter was a success.
Two weeks after the first transphobic protest was successfully shut down by antifascist counter-protestors, a flyer began circulating in right-wing chats for a second protest against Wi Spa. On July 17th, antifascist counter-protestors and LGBTQ activists waving trans flags began to gather at the corners of Rampart and Wilshire. There was already a heavy police presence not only at the intersections, but also as far as three blocks east and west of Wi Spa. Unmarked police cars were also patrolling the area.
Antifascists had taken to the streets the night before to spread anti-fascist and anti-transphobic graffiti all over the area; a signal to fascists approaching that Los Angeles stands against fascism and transphobia. The fight this day however, was mainly to be between counter-protesters and the LAPD, as the police aggressively tried to maintain control by restricting counter-protesters to one corner of the street. Counter-protesters attempted to take over the corner in front of Wi Spa, which the LAPD was occupying with weapons and riot control munitions.
Welcome to Wi Spa. The second round of a transphobic demonstration was planned here, and counter protesters are already being targeted by LAPD. At the last demonstration, LAPD allowed far right extremists to stab two people. pic.twitter.com/RaSXzkIjqF
— Vishal P. Singh (They/He) (@VPS_Reports) July 17, 2021
Tomas Morales, a far-Right troll who only days before was photographed next to holocaust denier and white nationalist Nick Fuentes, was caught attempting to infiltrate the protests. As soon as he was unmasked he ran behind police lines. Antifascists attempted to confront him but the LAPD provided him safe passage out of the area.
Tomas Morales is here— watch him run behind the cop line… 2x pic.twitter.com/hK9pGT2Dty
— waterspider (@waterspider__) July 17, 2021
After a long while of waiting for chuds to arrive, a group of about 40/50 of them approached, some chanting Qanon slogans, up the east side of MacArthur Park on Wilshire Blvd. The bloc quickly gathered to meet them head on, as the LAPD swooped in and formed a police line. Water bottles and other projectiles were thrown from both sides, however the LAPD began firing munitions only into the antifascist side of the crowd. 
Violent Proud Boys get words from the police – not rubber bullets, while other far-Right demonstrators, including Will Johnson of InfoWars tell them to stop throwing objects. None of this made it into coverage of the Wi Spa protests in mass media. https://t.co/MgncKfyZ10
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) July 20, 2021
Comrades started withdrawing to Wi Spa, as fascists began attempting to encircle the bloc. Counter-protesters were once again prepared to meet them head on, but were cut off by the LAPD, who blocked both an alley and side streets. The LAPD finally issued an unlawful assembly order, as a small core of about 100 counter protesters refused to disperse, making the pigs work for every inch gained. At this point, the police attempts to kettle pro-trans demonstrators became blatant as pigs began firing indiscriminately at antifascists from across the street, with civilians and cars caught between us. Antifascists were able to help each other and the other counter-protesters over a fence to a park, all while being shot by so-called “less-lethals.”
Cops shooting beanbag rounds at counterprotesters and myself trying to run down Wilshire away from the police line— pic.twitter.com/cpixdWViyk
— waterspider (@waterspider__) July 17, 2021
Eventually the pigs managed to kettle a hardcore of between 30-40 antifascists. These comrades were brought by paddy wagon into a garage in the police precinct where the pigs suffered about two hours of witty and berating insults and off key show-tunes. A comrade had a seizure and was at first refused medical attention, despite having a certified EMT on the scene, but their handcuffed comrades bravely pushed against the police until the pigs were forced to allow EMT to treat them.
Most of the detained were charged with failure to disperse and were released, though some comrades may still be facing other charges. Jail support was amazing; as supporters brought those facing charges food and helped coordinate legal support.
- Officer Lewis, (badge number unknown), Christopher Aboyte, badge number 22837, and Michael Raphael Ruiz, badge number 43376 fired into the crowd at various points, beginning LAPD’s salvo of projectile fire.