Speaking to local media, one protester described how he saw the man drive past the demonstration yelling “all lives matter” and “flipping us off”; he followed the man’s car on his skateboard, at which point the man allegedly made a u-turn and and pointed a gun in the protester’s face.
Police, who were at the scene, pulled the man over to arrest him. He has not yet been identified; pictures from the scene show him wearing a cap bearing the American flag, but with the stripes apparently replaced by bullets.
The incident comes a day after the vandalisation of the mural, a large yellow rendering of the words Black Lives Matter painted on a main road with the city authorities’ permission.
On Saturday, a white man and woman both clad in red Trump campaign attire arrived with cans of black paint and a roller and began blacking out the words, all the while exchanging barbs with appalled onlookers.
In video footage that’s now gone viral, the woman takes charge of the roller while the man stands by apparently filming on a phone. Asked “what’s wrong with you?” by an off-camera voice, he replies: “We’re sick of this narrative, that’s what’s wrong.
“The narrative of police brutality, the narrative of oppression, the narrative of racism – it’s a lie. It’s a lie.”
Told that the act of painting over the mural is in itself racist, he replies: “This [the mural] is racist, that’s what it is. There is no racism, there is no oppression, it’s a leftist lie. It’s a lie from the media, from the liberal left.”
The woman, for her part, shouts that while murals like this might be seen in “f***ing New York”, “this is not happening in my town”. She then tells the man to get her more paint.
Martinez, which is situated north-east of San Francisco, is represented by Democrats in state government and in Congress. The police have not publicly identified the couple in the video, but their faces and their car’s licence plate are clearly visible.
Donald Trump has lately been taking an increasingly harsh tone against left-wing and anti-racist movements in general.
Last week, he called a Black Lives Matter mural planned for New York City a “symbol of hate”, and in his 4 July speech at the White House, he vowed to defeat “the radical left, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters, and the people who, in many instances, have absolutely no clue what they are doing”.
“We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children,” he said.
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