Torn pieces of an American flag lying on the ground at the University of Washington, Feb. 10, 2018.
(Q13 Fox Seattle)
Five people were arrested as fights broke out and at least one American flag was burned on Saturday after a college Republican rally in Seattle drew counter-protesters.
College Republicans at the University of Washington had invited the members of the Patriot Prayer, a group in Vancouver, Wash., to speak in the university’s Red Square for a “freedom rally,” the Seattle Times reported.
The objectives were to conservatives together, and to promote free speech rights, College Republicans President, Chevy Swanson said at the Time. When the event is triggered, supporters chanted “Us-A! US-A!” and signs that read, “We died for freedom not socialism.”
Five people were arrested, American flags were burned and police used the bicycle barricades and pepper spray to separate protesters at the University of Washington and the Red Square today https://t.co/0w3YQfujWo
— The Seattle Times (@seattletimes) February 11, 2018
But more than 1,000 counter-protesters showed up to oppose the event.
“I’ve learned that they thought my voice was a hate crime,” Kathryn Townsend, who said she voted for Donald Trump in 2016, told Seattle’s Q13 Fox.
“I’ve learned that they thought my voice was a hate crime.”
– Kathryn Townsend, a supporter of President Donald Trump
Some counter-protesters expressed their goals.
“We are here to fight back against the extreme right and fascism on our campus,” one counter-protester said.
The police in motion when fights broke out and the opposition crowd moves in front of Suzzallo library. Very peaceful on Patriots Prayer side. pic.twitter.com/DREqfpEVmf
— Tatevik Aprikyan (@TatevikAprikyan) February 10, 2018
Still another: “I’m not a fan of the president, and these people are fans. So I want to come in here and say this is not OK. And what you’re doing is not OK.”
After a few skirmishes broke out, the police responded with pepper spray. University of Washington police said those arrested were accused of disorderly conduct.
No officers were injured, they said.
University officials were concerned about the potential for violence in the rally, and the school of the president warned students to avoid the area.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.