Fort Lauderdale Tea Party Fight Caught on Tape | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

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Fort Lauderdale Tea Party Fight Caught on Tape

Most weekends, at the corner of Oakland Park and Federal Highway, there are some colorful protests. This is a regular spot for self-proclaimed "tea partiers" to tell the world (and the luxury cars going to and from Galt Ocean Mile) about their conservative beliefs (like Obama is a socialist Muslim terrorist with no birth certificate who will imprison your children with social-programming-related debt, which, unlike war-related debt is "unAmerican").

Recently the antiwar, pro-immigration reform group ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) took to the same intersection (across the street) with an anti-tea party protest. The result was the violence you see in the video above. The fight allegedly started when

a tea partier crossed Federal Highway and began engaging the ANSWER folks up close, according to some of the liberal protesters. The tea partiers (along with members of FLIMEN--Floridians for Immigration Enforcement) were set up in front of the newly renovated Target while the counterprotesters (the people protesting the protest of the potential change in U.S. policy, for those of you keeping track at home) were carrying signs and bullhorns in front of the now-empty Citibank building.

On their website, ANSWER folks claim a "right-wing videographer" approached them and committed a "violent assault" with a tripod. What constitutes a "violent assault" here is unclear. Then they say he kicked the signs they were carrying. Without resorting to violence, they say they "chanted for the man to return to his side." They say he returned shortly, with another "racist," and commenced another assault. The pro-immigration reformers say they got violent onlywhen one of the tea partiers snatched a bullhorn.

For their part, the tea partiers are claiming nothing but victimhood. They say ANSWER came to the street corner with violence in mind, and they say a pre-protest email is the proof. From the email sent out to ANSWER members the day before the protest:

"Racism is like anything else in this world: in order to make it fall, you must smash it! That is why we are calling on all people to come out tomorrow, to organize a militant confrontation with the so-called 'tea baggers.' Beating back these forces will require us to organize together, take the streets, fight the racists wherever they show their faces and drive them out of every community."
Well, they do say they want to fight. And there was a fight.

The incident received a little coverage, but now both sides are trying to use the fight as a rallying call to Americans appalled by the violence. This video was shot and posted by tea partiers. ANSWER claims it doesn't show nearly everything -- just what happened after the tea party folks started it. So, just like a playground fight, both sides say the other guys started it.

You know who I think started it? Glenn Beck.