Fresno police continue to monitor ongoing demonstrations

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Hundreds have been gathering in Fresno calling for an end to violence in Palestine.

More rallies are expected this week.

Hundreds filled the street corners near Blackstone and Nees Tuesday night to stand in solidarity with Palestinians.

RELATED: 'Freedom for Palestine' protest draws out hundreds in northeast Fresno

There were a few tense moments that Fresno Police kept a close eye on Tuesday, but nothing troubling enough to step in.

"For the most part they've been relatively peaceful, but we have had a few incidents that have emerged during those rallies," said Fresno Police Dept. Lt. Rob Beckwith.

One incident involved 62-year-old Brian Turner, who investigators say pepper-sprayed three protesters Saturday after an argument escalated.

RELATED: Hate crime alleged after pro-Palestinian protesters pepper sprayed

Turner was arrested and has been charged with three counts of illegally using pepper spray with a hate crime enhancement.

He's scheduled to be arraigned in July.

On Tuesday evening, police say a man in his 50s reported to police he got into a verbal argument with a woman holding a cardboard sign.

During the confrontation, the man claims he was sprayed with pepper spray by someone in the crowd.

Police are still investigating and, so far, don't have a description of the potential suspect.

"They have a right to be there, they have a right to protest, but they should have an expectation that they can do it peacefully." Lt. Beckwith said.

Authorities said their biggest challenge is to ensure that people have a safe environment to demonstrate.

Officers will continue to be at future rallies to make sure no one is breaking the law or gets hurt.

"It's our job. It's our job to keep the community safe and we're going to continue to do that," said Lt. Beckwith.

The Fresno Police Department said, bottom line, their job is to make sure people feel like they can safely exercise their First Amendment right.

However, officials said there are consequences for anyone who chooses to break the law.
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