Circus clowns and animal rights protesters got into an epic brawl in San Bernadino Friday night, and the event was captured on video, NBC Los Angeles is reporting.
The Ramos Brothers Circus was in town for the weekend, bringing with it a menagerie of “animals from all over the world.” The “animals” part didn’t sit well with Direct Action Everywhere, an animal-rights organization, who sent protesters to the big top.
At around 8 p.m., protesters began trying to force their way into the circus’ performance area. That’s when the full-scale brawl broke out, with circus employees in full clown regalia trading punches and shoves with the activists.
Ringmaster Oliver Ramos claims he suffered minor injuries — a split lip — while trying to protect his much older uncle from the protesters.
“All of a sudden when I turned around one of [the protesters] jumped on top of my uncle – he’s over 68-years-old – and they started beating on him and I reacted. When I pulled them off they hit me with a megaphone in the face and all these ladies started scratching me on the face… These people are just crazy fanatics… it has to stop. These people are getting out of hand.”
Another circus employee also sustained undisclosed minor injuries.
Protester Nicholas Shaw-McMinn claims that his group’s protest was non-violent and that the circus brawl was started by circus workers, not the other way around.
“Employees locked us on the property and wouldn’t let us leave. They assaulted… multiple protestors, some with weapons.”
Police arrested two protesters following the brawl. As of this post, no circus employees have been arrested.
Animal rights groups such as Direct Action Everywhere and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) claim that circuses mistreat animals, keeping them in captivity and managing their behavior through whipping and shocking, according to the New York Daily News.
A Facebook page entitled “Protest Ramos Bros. Circus,” which appears to have been taken down, echoed those claims.
“Traveling animal acts perpetuate animal cruelty, inhumane care, public safety hazards and distorted images of wildlife. As compassionate animal lovers we must stop animal entertainment and extend our love to all animals. Animals are not our [sic] to use, they are not our property; they are beings that desire the same freedoms as us.”
Do you believe the animal rights protesters involved in the circus brawl have a point? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.
[Image courtesy of: Shutterstock/Lisa F. Young]