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Freedom Rally and counter-protest under way in Seattle

FINAL UPDATE: Police report three arrests made and no serious injuries.

UPDATE 5:00 p.m.: Seattle police report the rallies are over but they will remain on scene because tensions are high among the participants.

UPDATE 4:30 p.m.: Seattle police reinforcements have waded in to the crowd at Westlake Park.

UPDATE 3:21 p.m.: Gibson continues to let counter protestors speak. Police have confiscated wood planks form protestors.

UPDATE 3:00 p.m.: Seattle police are telling the crowd at Pine and 2nd that they must disperse.

UPDATE 2:56 p.m.: Flash bangs have been fired into counter protestors.

UPDATE 2:51 p.m.: Gibson handed his microphone to a man who chanted, “Black lives matter,” for a few moments.

UPDATE 2:38 p.m.: Solidarity Against Hate march is on its way to Westlake Park.

A day after a woman and two state police officers died in Charlottesville, dueling political rallies are being held in Seattle.

A “Freedom Rally Seattle” is being held at Westlake Park.

“The West Coast has slowly been infected with communist ideologies throughout our entire culture,” the event’s posting stated.

The rally’s organizer, Vancouver-based Joey Gibson and his group Patriot Prayer, canceled an associated March after yesterday’s terrorist attack in Virginia. A woman was killed, several others were injured and two police officers died when their helicopter crashed.

“Today was kind of a crazy day,” Gibson said Saturday in a Facebook live streaming. “We’re not going to march tomorrow.”

He said he was frustrated by the turn of events.

“In Seattle we have all these people calling me a white supremacist,” Gibson said.

Later in the video posting, Gibson went on to defend white nationalists.

“A majority of them do believe there is a lot of prejudice against whites in our society right now,” Gibson said. “And truth is, there is.”

Gibson and his group held a rally at The Evergreen State College in Olympia on June 15.

He defined a white nationalist as, “One who has pride in their own race and feels that their race is under attack.”

Some of his followers supported Saturday’s decision to cancel the march but others turned on him.

“How much money did they fork over to get you to stop Marching for America in that leftist cesspool capital, anyway?” asked a poster calling himself Kenny Blessing.

Gibson urged peace and restraint at his rally.

Meanwhile, counter protestors are holding a rally at Denny Park Sunday.

Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541, @crsailor

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