Protesters and counterprotesters, both armed, fought each other over the weekend outside of a drag queen storytime event at an Oregon bar.
A group of people were inside Old Nick’s Pub in Eugene reading a story when a mob of more than 300 demonstrators started throwing rocks and smoke bombs at one other outside.
Because some far-right figures were upset that an 11-year-old drag performer named Vanellope was scheduled to appear at the bar, the LGBTQ+ community became the latest target of hate.
The Register Guard reports that the crowd threw rocks and smoke bombs at each other before police intervened and ended the event.
Police noted that there were some protesters in the audience who had brought semi-automatic firearms to the event for children.
Events featuring a drag queen reading to children have been happening since 2015, but they have recently been a focal point of anti-LGBTQ discourse.
People who are against the initiative that has drag queens reading to kids say that it will harm them.
However, event organizers have claimed that protesters have been frightening performers and putting children in risk.
Old Nick’s Pub stated in a Facebook post on Friday that the protesters and detractors have “twisted what is a pleasant and innocent event for kids and families into something ugly and repulsive.
The bar reported spending $2,000 on private protection on Sunday and preparing for “a target for violent radicals for a good while.”
“racist and homophobic hate mail, real threats of violence, and continuous attacks by right wing media sites casting our Drag Queen Storytime as evil,” one employee wrote.
The bar, which has previously hosted LGBTQ-friendly events including drag story time, has announced that it will press on in spite of the threats.
On Monday, the bar wrote, “We love you all so much, and we will not ever back down to hate.” We appreciate your support as we speak out against the rising tide of hate crimes against LGBTQ kids and gathering spaces.