Five people were arrested as fights broke out and at least one American flag was burned Saturday after a college Republican rally in Seattle drew counter-protesters.
College Republicans at the University of Washington had invited members of Patriot Prayer, a group in Vancouver, Wash., to speak in the university’s Red Square for a “freedom rally,” the Seattle Times reported.
The goals were to bring conservatives together and promote free-speech rights, College Republicans President Chevy Swanson told the Times. As the event got underway, supporters chanted “U-S-A!, U-S-A!,” and signs included one that read, “We died for liberty not socialism.”
After several skirmishes broke out, police responded with pepper spray. University of Washington police said those arrested were charged with disorderly conduct.
No officers were injured, they said.
University officials were worried about the potential for violence at the rally, and the school’s president had warned students to avoid the area.