Three members of the Bay Area National Anarchists — a group that believes in white separatism and which supports the controversial Arizona anti-immigrant law — were attacked with mace, punches, kicks and shoves as they left the immigration reform rally Saturday, according to BANA founder Andrew Yeoman.
The thousands of demonstrators marching for immigration reform down Mission Street Saturday afternoon were mostly preaching to the choir here in the sanctuary city. Drivers honked their horns in support. People popped their head out of apartments along Mission and tooted noisemakers.
But once the marchers arrived at the Civic Center Plaza for the rally, they were greeted by a small phalanx of counter protesters standing on the sidewalk in front of City Hall, including the Golden Gate Minutemen and four members of the Bay Area National Anarchists (BANA).
Some of the pro-immigration reform demonstrators marched up to the police barricades in front of the Minutemen where the two sides engaged in a shouting match, but police moved the protesters back to the Civic Center Plaza.
But as Yeoman and three other BANA members were leaving the rally and walking near Market and Van Ness, a group of three guys started following and yelling at them.
“I was targeted,” Yeoman told SF Weekly. ”They know me from the videos [on YouTube] and being involved in the anarchist movement for years.”
Yeoman says the group following him grew to roughly ten, all white people except for one black man, Yeoman says he crossed the street in an attempt to get away from the group but they followed him and yelled things like “Why do you hate immigrants?” “Why are you conservative?”
He said he saw that two of the men had brass knuckles, yet it was a woman who started the attack by macing Yeoman in the face. He says his sunglasses kept it from getting in his eyes. He remembers that two men pushed to then got him to the ground and kicked him, causing welts on his head. He alleges that they hit BANA member Parker Wilson in the back, and pushed a female member.
The Southern Poverty Law Journal wrote in a 2009 article that national anarchists “cloak their bigotry in the language of radical environmentalism and mystical tribalism, pulling recruits from both the extreme right and the far left.”