In a dramatic contrast to a Huntington Beach melee three months ago, about 300 Southern California supporters of President Trump marched peacefully Saturday in Fountain Valley to make America great again.
The event in Mile Square Regional Park drew many people carrying American flags and wearing T-shirts bearing message such as “Deplorable lives matter,” “Hillary 4 prison” and “Keep calm and blame Russia.”
About 100 sheriff’s deputies were on hand for the rally, and local police were stationed outside the park.
As people started gathering about 11 a.m., a couple of counter-protesters handed out reading material about American Indians, colonialism and slavery that included the message, “Make America great — educate yourself!” When the group began marching later, a few more counter-protesters arrived. But the altercations amounted to nothing more than a few arguments and insults.
After marching four miles around the park, the ralliers finished the afternoon with a barbecue.
When Trump supporters gathered in March in Huntington Beach, about 2,000 people showed up. Their event was interrupted by a violent brawl in which one of the organizers was doused with pepper spray. At least four people were arrested.
Saturday’s march primarily was held to oppose Senate Bill 54, a California bill that would restrain state and local law enforcement agencies from using resources to investigate, detain, report or arrest people for purposes of immigration enforcement.
As the marchers took off, they chanted, “Hey hey, ho ho, illegal immigrants got to go.”
Organizer Darlene Savord said the event was meant to be a family-friendly gathering and a safe space for Trump supporters to be among like-minded company.
“The silent majority is waking up,” she said. “Our voices need to be heard. Not all of California is liberal, and we’d love to see it go red.”
Rommel Labastida of Orange County held a sign reading “Asians for Trump.” He and his family immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines when he was 11, and it took them 10 years to secure their visas, he said.
“I’m not totally against immigration. I’m an immigrant myself — how could I be?” he said. “I just want people to come legally.”
6 p.m.: This story has been updated throughout with additional details from the day.
12:55 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from the rally’s organizer.
11:45 a.m.: This article was updated with details from the scene.
This article was originally published at 8:40 a.m.