Protesters clash violently over drag queen story time at Oregon pub

Armed protesters and counter-protesters clashed outside a drag queen storytelling event at an Oregon pub over the weekend.

More than 300 protesters threw rocks and smoke grenades at each other outside Old Nick’s Pub in Eugene, while a group gathered inside to read a story.

The pub was the latest target of LGBTQ+ hate after right-wing personalities complained about an 11-year-old drag performer named Vanellope who was expected to perform.

Authorities said the crowd threw rocks and some smoke bombs at each other before police shut down the event, according to the Register Guard.

Some protesters in the crowd came to the event for young children armed with semi-automatic rifles, officials added.

Drag queen storytime events have recently and increasingly become the target of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric across the country, even though the events have been taking place since 2015.

Opponents argue that the program, in which flamboyant performers dressed in vibrant drag outfits read storybooks to children, is harmful to children.

Drag performer Emma Lavin, center, tries to find middle ground with protesters against a drag queen story time outside Old Nick's Pub in Eugene, Ore.

About 50 protesters and 250 supporters of the event converged outside Old Nick’s Pub in Eugene as story time went off without a hitch to an audience of 50.

Supporters line the street in front of Old Nick's Pub in Eugene during a drag queen story time hosted by the pub.

Old Nick’s Pub said it spent $2,000 on private security for Sunday’s event.

Drag Queen performers Elektra Starr, left, Sunshine Ray MacPherson and Princess Maliena visit with their fans after a performance at Old Nick's in Eugene.

However, organizers said the protests against the events have been frightening and put performers as well as children at risk.

In a Facebook statement Friday, Old Nick’s Pub said the critics and protesters have “turned what is a fun and innocent event for children and families into something vile and disgusting.

The pub said it spent $2,000 on private security Sunday and expects to be “a target for violent extremists for quite some time.”

Employees have received “racist and homophobic hate mail, physical threats of violence, and repeated attacks from right-wing media outlets calling out our Drag Queen Storytime as malicious.”

Despite the threats, the pub — which often hosts LGBTQ-friendly events, including drag story time in the past — said it will continue its events.

“We love you all so much and we will never go back to hating,” the pub said in its Monday post. “Thank you for standing with us against this growing trend of violence against queer youth and LGBTQ spaces.”

The child drag queen did not perform at Sunday’s event and was instead feted as the event’s guest of honor.

With Post wires.

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