Protester arrested after confrontation with counter-protester at Pro-Palestinian rally

A protester is in police custody after arguing and hitting a counter-protester during a Pro-Palestinian protest Sunday afternoon in Riverside, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

The Jacksonville Palestine Solidarity Network has held several peaceful protests around the city since the war between Hamas and Israel began on October 7th. This was the first rally where things escalated.

Around 5 p.m. Sunday afternoon, just one hour after the rally started, a protester got into a heated disagreement with a counter-protester, according to JSO.

The protester took the megaphone from the counter-protester, hit her in the head with it, and threw the megaphone in the river.

The protester then reached into his waistband and pulled out a gun.

An officer witnessed part of the incident and immediately took the protester into custody.

Detectives say the protester will be charged with robbery by sudden snatching.

When News4Jax asked if the protester will also be charged with assault as well since he did hit her with the megaphone, JSO Sgt. Karen Dukes said that “the assault is actually part of the robbery charge. Otherwise, it would just be a theft. So, the robbery is…stealing something by using force. So that’s an element of it.”

Dukes says JSO supports people’s First Amendment rights.

“We want protesters and counter protesters to be able to peaceably speak their mind. And that’s part of the great country that we live in, in the freedom that we get to have. The issue is when you can’t break laws. When people become injured, and property is broken. That’s where that’s where the line is drawn,” Sgt. Dukes says.

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