Two people participating in a counter-protest to a right-wing rally at the Rhode Island Statehouse on Saturday were arrested, according to police.
One was a 34-year-old Massachusetts man who police said threw fecal matter – likely left by a Providence Policeman’s horse -- at a state trooper. Andrew St. Jean, of Gill, Mass., was charged with felony assault and disorderly conduct.
Police also arrested Alex Carrion, also 34, of Providence. Police said Carrion hit another man with an unknown object while inside the Providence Place Mall, where rally participants had parked.
According to a spokeswoman for Ocean State Against Hate, the group which organized the counter-protest, the two people arrested were at the Statehouse in opposition to the right-wing rally.
Samson Racioppi, of Massachusetts, said in an interview that he was the man assaulted in the mall. He said the assault occurred after he participated in the demonstration with a right-wing group which states on its website that it stands for free speech.
Racioppi said he left the rally at the Statehouse with a police escort after counter-protesters confronted members of his group, “Resist Marxism.” He said he then went into the Providence Place Mall, where he was hit in the head with a bike lock.
Racioppi, who volunteers at a non-profit organization, said in an email that since he participated in the rally he is being harassed.
“People are contacting the organization,” he said. “They’re commenting on the page, ‘you have a Nazi, you have a racist.’ So it’s hurting the organization.”
Counter-demonstrators said the rally had connections to white supremacist groups. Racioppi denied this.
“We want to see evidence of this,’’ he said in an interview, “because if it’s going on we want to get these people out of our organization. We want to specifically disavow them. The problem is they never produce any evidence or anything for us to use, but they still keep perpetuating this idea.”
The organization, Resist Marxism, states on its website that it was founded by Kyle Chapman, a right-wing activist in California. Racioppi is pressing charges against Alex Carrion, the man charged with the assault inside the mall.
This post has been updated.
Editor's note, a previous version of the article referred to a State Police horse. The State Police does not have a mounted patrol. It was instead likely Providence mounted patrol, who were at the rally.