ST. PAUL, Minn. — Two days after members of ANTIFA hijacked a local rally of President Donald Trump supporters looking to celebrate his first 100 days at the Capitol, many on social media are still confused as to what happened.
What Actually Happened
Approximately 100 members of the ANTIFA movement arrived in St. Paul nearly an hour and a half prior to to the scheduled 11 a.m. March 4 Trump rally at the state Capitol. The group filled the steps of the Capitol and began to hold their own rally.
At 10:30 a.m., supporters of Trump began to arrive and were immediately blocked by the ANTIFA crowd from entering the Capitol. Two Trump supporters were attacked by ANTIFA members when they tried to go up the stairs of the Capitol. One supporter was thrown down the marble stairs and kicked in the head repeatedly before State Troopers could break up the fight. Another was maced in the face. There have been no reports of arrest.
Around 11 a.m., another group of Trump supporters carrying American flags and decked out in helmets and costumes lined up in front of the Capitol and faced off against ANTIFA. This occurred for several hours before the Trump supporters chose to leave at 2:30 p.m. Read the Alpha News report and watch the video here.
At 11:30 a.m., a member of the Trump rally organizing team, Jonathan Aanestad came out and delivered a message to the other pro-Trump group at the Capitol
“We have a permit to be here today and we don’t appreciate you guys showing up and screwing up our event,” Aanestad said. “We disavow any connections to the Nazis at all, we have nothing to do with you guys, go away.”
Alpha News learned later while talking with members of the pro-Trump group outside that they had no affiliation to white supremacists or Nazis. Members of the small group did share their affiliation with the alt-right movement, but denounced ties to white supremacy.
Police shut down the Capitol and only let a small number of people, including press, in with a police escort.
Inside the Capitol, only a small handful of people, less than 75, were able to enter the building.
“Thank you for not being afraid to come in here. This is your building,” Sen. Dan Hall (R- Burnsville) told those inside.
Rep. Matt Dean (R-Dellwood), who is also running for governor, shared his thoughts on Facebook.
“The anti-GOP protesters were allowed to shut down the Capitol and attack those Minnesotans who (under permit) were simply trying to assemble in the Capitol [sic].
“Our Capitol is a symbol of our freedom. It has been vandalized and marred by the punks and thugs who celebrate intimidation and violence as some acceptable form of political expression because their candidate lost the last presidential election,” Dean wrote.
Organizer of the March 4 Trump Event, Alley Waterbury shared a lengthy response to Saturday’s events on her personal Facebook page.
“Due to some of the bikers for Trump, and negotiating with leaders of antifa, they requested to speak to me, and asked if I would denounce the so-called Nazis. They would leave our event that was already ruined alone.
“I’m not OK with that approach of course we denounce any kind of Nazi behavior anyway. Were the guys on the other side Nazis, no, do they handle things the way that I would want, no. Do I think that either one of these groups were going to have anything positive come out of this, no. Did the so called Nazis lay a hand on one person did they hurt anyone? I don’t think so,” Waterbury wrote.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis) retweeted a photo of the crowd inside mocking the lack of a crowd on the inside. Omar did not mention the ANTIFA protesters blocking access to the Capitol.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) May 6, 2017
The Twin Cities General Defense Committee, which has been linked to ANTIFA, released a press release stating,
“We achieved all of our goals and then some. We denied a platform to the neo-Nazi, fascist, and white supremacist Alt-Right. This included our success in discouraging the Afrikkkaner neo-Nazi, Simon Roche, from even attending an event at which he was slated to speak [sic].
“We drove a wedge between Trump supporters and those who are unambiguously members of the fascist right. We physically isolated the fascists and gave Trump supporters no choice but to choose which side they were on.
“This led Drumpf organizers to publicly denounce these Nazis, separating themselves from the fascists who were attempting to organize their base. The successes of this action proves the strength in our movements,” wrote the group.