Clowns brawled with animal rights protesters under a circus big top in San Bernardino Friday night.
Hundreds of spectators watched the fight break out when workers allegedly tried to stop the activists from forcing their way inside after the Ramos Bros. Circus show began.
Two protestors were arrested following the melee, while two circus employees were injured when the fight broke out at 8:08 p.m., according to a San Bernardino Police Department spokesman.
Ringmaster Oliver Ramos claimed his lip was split after he was hit on the face with his megaphone in trying to keep protestors outside.
"All of a sudden when I turned around one of them jumped on top of my uncle - he's over 68-years-old - and they started beating on him and I reacted," Ramos said. "When I pulled them off they hit me with a megaphone in the face and all these ladies started scratching me on the face."
However protester Nicholas Shaw-McMinn claimed they were protesting non-violently, and that protesters were the ones attacked by the circus workers.
"Employees locked us on the property and wouldn't let us leave. They assaulted... multiple protestors, some with weapons," Shaw-McMinn said.
He also claimed one of the workers placed him in a choke hold during the clash.
The activists, who said they are members of the Direct Action Everywhere group, provided video which showed them protesting outside the big top before the melee.
The Ramos Bros. Circus website boasts that the show features "animals from all over the world," showing images of lamas, camels and horses.
Ramos said he does not mind activists protesting on the street but wants them to stay off the property where the circus is performing. He also believes something has to be done to prevent further clashes occurring
"These people are just crazy fanatics… it has to stop. These people are getting out of hand," Ramos said.
However it seems they will not be staying away, as more than 100 protesters are expected to show up for more demonstrations taking place Saturday.
The "Protest Ramos Bros. Circus" Facebook page says: "Traveling animal acts perpetuate animal cruelty, inhumane care, public safety hazards and distorted images of wildlife.
"As compassionate animal lovers we must stop animal entertainment and extend our love to all animals. Animals are not our (sic) to use, they are not our property; they are beings that desire the same freedoms as us."
It also claims circus animals are trained using methods such as whipping, hitting, poking, and shocking with electrical prods.