Anti-immigration rallies may be taking a violent turn as tea party demonstrations against illegals ramp up during the run-up to the introduction of immigration reform legislation.
The reform debate, which could reach the floor of Congress as early as next month, has polarized activists across the country. During the weekend, two more tea party rallies erupted into brawls between protesters and counter-demonstrators in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Phoenix, Ariz.
In Fort Lauderdale, violence broke out Saturday at when pro-amnesty activists brutally beat two immigration protesters. The clash occurred when tea party protesters entered the protest zone of amnesty proponents who had e-mailed group members calling for "a militant confrontation" with "tea-baggers," the Christian Science Monitor reported.
In Phoenix, a scuffle broke out Saturday between tea partyers and a group of neo-Nazis brandishing a swastika flag and a portrait of Adolf Hitler. Members of the National Socialist Movement found themselves shut out of the event, organized by American Citizens United, leading to shoving and shouting. Police intervened quickly, and no one was hurt.
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Dozens of similar demonstrations across the country have erupted in violence in connection with the immigration reform debate and other issues such as healthcare: Members of the Service Employees International Union beat a state worker at a town hall meeting this month, according to an NBC report. A woman filming the violence also was accosted. In September, a nationalized healthcare advocate bit off the finger of a healthcare opponent after the protester pointed it at him, the Associated Press reported. Also last summer, a handicapped woman in a wheelchair was attacked by a protester at an Obama town hall in New Hampshire. Another protester kicked an armed man in the groin and spit into a camera filming it. At a tea party in Milwaukee, a heckler attacked several people and rushed the stage while a speaker was talking, YouTube video shows. Police tackled and removed him.
Americans for Legal Immigration is hosting tea parties against amnesty and illegal immigration across the nation. Protests are scheduled for more than 50 towns and cities.
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