Pepper spray deployed after clash between protesters outside Calif. Planned Parenthood

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Protesters and counterprotesters clashed Tuesday outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Walnut Creek, Calif., in an incident that resulted in multiple people being pepper sprayed. 

According to NBC News, a group of anti-abortion protesters and counterprotesters regularly demonstrate outside the Planned Parenthood but on Tuesday, the anti-abortion protesters arrived with its own group of armed security guards.  

The guards were reportedly hired by 40 Days For Life, an anti-abortion group based in Texas that says its goal is to “end the injustice of abortion.” 

Video posted to Facebook shows the counterprotesters near the guards gesturing toward them when one of the men pepper sprays counterprotesters. In the video, one person can be heard yelling “what the fuck” after the guard deploys the pepper spray. 

Another person is heard in the background telling the guards not to use their guns and to put guns away, though it’s unclear from the video if guns were actually drawn.

A Facebook post by one of the counterprotesters claims the clash was sparked because the guards were blocking access to a public sidewalk. The counterprotesters said they never touched the guards or made any physical contact with them before the pepper spray was deployed.

The CEO of 40 Days For Life, Shawn Carney, confirmed to NBC News that they hired the guards and defended their actions, saying the protesters were being “harassed” while “standing there praying.”


“It was like a war zone out there,” a Walnut Creek resident, Trevor Henrich, told NBC News. “I was shocked that it happened.”

Other witnesses told NBC News that while such protests are frequent at the spot, they have never seen demonstrations become physical before. 
Lacey Brown, who posted about the incident on Facebook, said she suffered chemical burns from the spray and wants the guards to be arrested. In a statement to NBC News, she accused the guards of “assault and battery.”
The Walnut Creek Police Department said it is investigating the incident.
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