By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — Two men were arrested as several skirmishes broke out during what was supposed to be a peaceful rally on the Boston Common bandstand Sunday.

Organizers from Super Happy Fun America planned the rally to protest several issues including COVID-19 vaccine regulations. But organizers said they were drowned out by counter-protesters and some were even attacked as they began to set up for the event.

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Super Happy Fun America said the front window on their rental van was smashed. The van driver then drove through barricades.

“They continued banging on the van, he must have gotten spooked and accelerated. He went right through the barricades where the police were where they then pulled him out of the van,” said Samson Racioppi, a Super Happy Fun America organizer. He said he was standing right by the van as it sped off through the crowd. No one was hit.

Racioppi also said he was pepper-sprayed by counter-protesters. Police shut the event down early due to safety concerns.

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The driver, later identified as Ronald McCarron, was arrested after police say he drove that van into the area where the protest was taking place. In court Monday, his attorney said McCarron did it after being “accosted” by one of the groups of protesters.

Ronald McCarron in Boston Municipal Court, Nov. 8. 2021. (WBZ-TV)

At his arraignment in Boston Municipal Court, McCarron pleaded not guilty to charges of disorderly conduct, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and disturbing the peace. He’s due back in court January 13.

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The other man who was arrested, William Turbitt, will be arraigned Tuesday.

CBSBoston.com Staff