Anthony DeWitt attended a rally outside Arizona’s capitol building in downtown Phoenix on May 3 to support his pro-life beliefs, only to find himself surrounded by an angry mob of leftist protesters and fearing for his life.
DeWitt, 20, said he felt sure the protesters would have hurt him if he hadn’t been open-carrying a handgun for personal protection.
“I was surrounded [and] didn’t have much room. [The protesters] were screaming at me—telling me to kill myself, that I was worthless, that my mom should have aborted me.”
“I had water thrown at me [and] people poking me. People came up to me trying to take my megaphone.”
The former Arizona law enforcement cadet said he believes coming to the rally armed helped keep the protesters at bay.
“I want to be very clear about this—I wasn’t carrying to intimidate. I was carrying for personal safety and the right to preserve my life [if] I am attacked or in fear of my life,” DeWitt told The Epoch Times.
“I had people screaming at me to pull out my gun. People were taunting me. I had people yelling at me to pull it out and shoot them. People were yelling at me to pull it out and shoot myself.”
Yet, despite that, DeWitt said “people were very cautious because of my gun.”
Other conservative students and pro-life supporters at the rally also found themselves being pushed, shoved, insulted, and even spat on by crowds of protesters whose numbers were estimated at more than 1,000.
Jack Fink, 20, a digital marketing student at Arizona State University and a member of Students for Kari [Lake] for governor, said a protester grabbed his hat and another spat on him.
Lake has vowed to sign pro-life legislation if elected governor.
“They were just mad that I was wearing a ‘Kari Lake for Governor’ hat and shirt. They pushed me, took my hat, and spat on me. Later in the evening, another group that was mobbing me had all their signs in my face. I couldn’t see at all,” Fink told The Epoch Times.
Fink said the protesters weren’t interested in having a “civil discussion.”
“I knew [the protesters] tend to get a little rowdy, but I wasn’t expecting to get assaulted. I was pretty scared. These people were ready to fight [but] I felt I needed to be down there to record it and to let [the public] know what these people were about.”
Fink said several Phoenix police officers were at the scene but did not intervene.
“I think they felt intimidated, [so] they weren’t reacting to anything. People were getting in their faces, calling them pigs and [saying] all cops were bastards.”
Police reportedly arrested two people but did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times.
Fink said he plans to press criminal charges against the woman who spat on him once she’s identified.
In a video that has gone viral, one protester is shouting, “Conservative [expletive]! I wish you were an abortion, buddy.”
Leftist organizations have called upon their members to stage protests at federal buildings as the Supreme Court decides whether to strike down the 1973 Roe vs. Wade legislation that legalized abortion.
The May 3 protest at the Capitol in Phoenix saw an estimated 1,500 people.
“The mental strain of being yelled and screamed at takes a lot out of you,” DeWitt said. “Other people might have been concealed-carrying, but I didn’t see any other protesters carrying [weapons].”
While DeWitt does not encourage people to bring firearms to political rallies unless trained, coming armed “did serve a purpose.”
“I believe I would have gotten killed without it,” he said.