Tensions Rise Along San Diego Border Between Minutemen, Protesters

AP, July 26

SAN DIEGO—Clashes between California Minutemen and protesters are heating up along the Mexican border with reports of shots fired and an alleged scuffle between a state senator’s aide and a university professor.

The confrontation between University of California, Riverside, ethnic studies professor Armando Navarro and Mark Belgen, an aide to Sen. Bill Morrow, R-Carlsbad, allegedly occurred July 16 in the border town of Campo. The area, about 40 miles southeast of San Diego, is where several dozen anti-illegal immigrant activists have set up watch for migrants crossing the border. They are expected to continue patrols through Aug. 7.

Belgen was accompanying Morrow to Campo to support the California Minuteman Project’s anti-illegal immigrant border patrol group, modeled after the group that monitored Arizona’s border earlier this year. He alleges that Navarro kicked him.

Belgen was unhurt and told the North County Times he waited to report the incident until late last week because initially he did not know kicking was considered an assault.

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Minuteman volunteers and protesters have traded accusations in recent weeks.

The Minutemen said protesters have called them racists and surrounded them as they mount their patrols. They also reported shots fired, though no one has been hurt.

Officials said many of the reports of shots fired were unsubstantiated but investigations were continuing.

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