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Antifa supporters clash with police and far-right backers of the Proud Boys in Washington

Black-clad Antifa activists wearing balaclavas and helmets briefly clashed with police and pro-Trump supporters in Washington, DC during a ‘free speech’ rally staged by the alt-right Proud Boys movement on Saturday.

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The skirmishes took place near Freedom Plaza in downtown Washington on Saturday.

Video on social media shows a large contingent of police acting as a buffer between the Proud Boys rally and a group of anti-fascists, who were unable to break through the line of helmeted officers.

The Antifa movement members and their supporters gathered under the banner of ‘All Out DC.’

They camped at nearby Pershing Park in an attempt to drown out the Proud Boys rally, according to The Washington Post.

One Antifa activist was filmed dragging a newspaper vending box onto the street.

The box was selling copies of the Washington Examiner, a conservative daily newspaper.

There was also a tense confrontation between a Trump-supporting congressional candidate from New York and Antifa sympathizers.

Joey Saladino, who is running for Congress to represent Staten Island and south Brooklyn, wore a red ‘Make America Great Again’ hat near the protest site.

In video uploaded to social media, he is seen arguing with Antifa members, one of whom tries to attack him.

Saladino tweeted: ‘Lmao, Antifa ripped my hat off. Bunch of dorks. They are lucky it was a girl that did it.’

In another tweet, he wrote: ‘Antifa was spitting in my face, crowd got big, riot almost broke out.’

Overall, however, it appeared there were no major injuries or incidents during the day.

Antifa protesters and left-wing counter-demonstrators far outnumbered the Proud Boys and the alt-right ralliers on Saturday.

The Proud Boys, a self-proclaimed ‘chauvinistic men’s group,’ rally drew some 250 supporters, according to USA Today.

They staged a demonstration to protest what they believe to be censorship of rightist views on social media.

Authorities estimate that there were nearly double the number of counter-protesters.

There were at least one hundred police officers on bikes and motorcycles who kept the two sides apart.

When Antifa members were prevented from entering Freedom Plaza, they tried to circumvent the officers by going around the block.

The Antifa activists charged a police barricade, but were kept apart from the Proud Boys and their supporters.

Police in Washington largely prevented a repeat of what took place last week in Portland, Oregon, when eight people were injured during clashes between Antifa and pro-Trump groups.

One of those injured was Andy Ngo, a conservative journalist whose attack was caught on video and shared virally on social media.

Ngo, an editor at the online publication Quillette, was filmed being punched, kicked and covered in milkshake by members of the Antifa movement.

Ngo, who describes himself in his Twitter bio as ‘hated by Antifa’, is seen attempting to get away from the crowd, some of whom follow him and throw milkshakes and other objects at his head.

The Proud Boys also made news this week when their followers clashed with counter-protesters near the National Mall on Thursday, where President Trump gave a speech to mark the Fourth of July celebrations.

Skirmishes briefly erupted when communist supporters burned an American flag.

Two people were arrested and two police officers were lightly injured. 

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