"Patriots" at the "picnic"
Bordertown Patriots, self-described as a group of American patriots, militia, and political activists, were among demonstrators at Chicano Park on February 3rd.
Counter-protesters formed a barrier at Chicano Park.
The “Patriot Picnic,” as organizers called the event, was a means to protest the lack of an American flag flying in the park sited under the Coronado bridge.
Through a press release, the organizers also stated that Chicano Park should be made more accessible to other races; this in response to a September 2017 incident where members of a similar group, Patriot Fire, were driven out of Chicano Park.
Reportedly, 700 counter-protesters gathered at the park on February 3rd prior to the arrival of the Bordertown Patriots group; the latter, composed of about 50 protesters, gathered near the San Diego Convention Center, made its way through Barrio Logan, arrived at Chicano Park at around 10:30 a.m., and were guided by police to the northern section of the park across Logan Avenue. There was a strong police presence along this avenue and the intersection of Cesar E. Chavez Parkway. The counter-protesters remained on the main section of Chicano Park south of Logan Avenue.
“People are here today united around the fact that white supremacists and so-called patriots are coming to this park because they think Chicano Park is anti-American,” explained Luna, a young activist handing out literature in support of an anti-fascist organization. “They would rather see this park not exist.”
A handcuffed man was taken out of the Bordertown Patriots section of the Park for reasons not made clear.
A masked man walked out of the protesters area and had a calm discussion with several people. “It’s a beautiful area,” he answered when asked about Chicano Park. “It has tons of potential, but there are more pro-American values that should be pushed through.” Possibly referring to the first "Patriot Picnic" in September 2017, he restated that the community should be open to people of other races.
Three arrests were reported during the activity, according to the San Diego Police Department’s Twitter account. Police handcuffed a man inside the Bordertown Patriots section of the park and put him in a police car. When asked, a police officer stated that the individual had resisted arrest but did not give any details as to why he had been detained in the first place.
A man was taken down by several policemen.
Later that morning, another individual was wrestled to the ground by multiple police officers and taken away in a police car. A witness stated that he saw the man running away from the police officers stationed at the Cesar E. Chavez Parkway/Logan Avenue intersection, at which point he was quickly taken down. A subsequent report stated that a policeman had been punched in the face.
The third arrest reportedly involved a man in possession of a billy club.
Protesters attempting to enter the main section of Chicano Park.
At one point several protesters walked out of the Bordertown Patriots section, determined to enter the main section of Chicano Park, where the majority of counter-protesters had gathered. After a minor altercation, they were sent back by several police officers.
No other incidents were reported during the remainder of the morning, during which protesters and counter-protesters yelled at each other (with some reportedly instigating fights), but they were separated by the police officers stationed along Logan Avenue. The Bordertown Patriots group left the premises at 12:30 p.m.