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QAnoners and MAGA cultists rallied in Hollywood on Saturday–but their turnout paled in comparison to the numbers they used to draw.
About 50 QAnoners rallied at the corner of Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles, a world-famous tourist hotspot. A roughly equal number of counter-protesters showed up to confront them, leading LAPD to point less-lethal weapons at the counter-protesters.
The QAnon rally was much smaller than past rallies in the same location, which drew thousands of cultists, conspiracy theorists and violent extremists to Hollywood at the height of the QAnon movement in 2020.
Previous rallies often turned violent as the QAnon crowd attacked passersby who disagreed with them, but Saturday’s rally was relatively sedate, perhaps due to the near-hundred-degree heat. Local photojournalist Kelly Stuart told LCRW the QAnoners stole a battery pack for her camera, but otherwise there was no physical violence throughout the day.
Just like previous QAnon rallies in Hollywood, Saturday’s event was advertised under the banner of “Save Our Children,” an oblique reference to the fake underground child sex trafficking rings of QAnon lore. A flyer for the rally also advertised the almost-comically-offensive anti-abortion slogan “Babies Lives Matter.”
Previous Hollywood QAnon rallies rarely drew counter-protesters but Saturday’s rally coincided with a left-wing protest a few blocks away against anti-homeless LA City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell. Anti-Mitch protesters joined pro-abortion and anti-fascist protesters to oppose the QAnon rally. The anti-fascists set up across the street from the QAnoners, and the two sides shouted slogans back and forth for hours in the stifling heat.
The QAnon rally was attended by several familiar faces from previous rallies, including Mario “Presents” Estrada, a Trump-obsessed bigot who showed up in a “Gays Against Groomers” shirt. “Gays Against Groomers” is a hate-fueled social media account founded by Jaimee Michel dedicated to stoking fear of the transgender community. Estrada and other QAnoners repeatedly accused counter-protesters of being groomers throughout the day.
Also present at the rally was QAnon cultist and antivaxx extremist Jairo Rodriguez, who claimed to be the organizer of an anti-trans hate rally outside Los Angeles spa WiSpa last year. At that rally, Rodriguez fled in a getaway car alongside violent fascist Aaron Simmons after Simmons assaulted photographer Rocky Romano with a pipe. Simmons later plead no contest to a charge of assault with a deadly weapon for that attack.
And at least one member of white-supremacist group White Lives Matter was present at the rally, posting pictures from the rally on Telegram.
Local activist William Gude recognized one of the officers that LAPD put on the line to control pro-abortion protesters as Jason Haberkorn, who Gude previously filmed berating a woman on Hollywood boulevard.
Some of the QAnoners occasionally wandered over to the counter-protesters, attempting to provoke fights. At one point, several QAnoners were surrounded by protesters, leading LAPD to respond by pointing less-lethals at the counter-protesters.
The tension settled down fairly quickly, and most of the riot squad backed off, with police settling into two lines of officers keeping the two sides separated. A man in a “Fuck Antifa” shirt repeatedly came over to harass the anti-fascist protesters, and was eventually arrested after failing to obey police orders to return to the QAnon side.
At least one other person was arrested, but LCRW did not witness the arrest and does not know the circumstances, or whether the person was associated with either side of the protest.
The protests wrapped up about two p.m. with no further reported incident. For now, it appears QAnon is unable to draw anywhere near the numbers it used to in Hollywood.