BOSTON (WHDH) - A man who allegedly crashed a van through a barricade during a clash between vaccine mandate protesters and counter demonstrators on Boston Common over the weekend faced a judge on Monday.

Ronald McCarron pleaded not guilty in Boston Municipal Court to charges including disorderly conduct, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and disturbing the peace.

Authorities say McCarron crashed a rental van through a barricade after the group Super Happy Fun America had set up for a protest against mask and vaccine mandates.

The rally turned violent when a larger group of counter demonstrators showed up to oppose the group.

In court, McCarron’s attorney argued that someone had smashed his client’s windshield and sprayed him with mace, prompting him to drive off.

“He saw officers in front of him and he tried to get to them for help,” McCarron’s attorney told the court.

McCarron stopped the van when he came to a line of police officers.

“He accelerated forward and went through the barricades because I think he was scared at that point due to the violent crowd that was here,” said Super Happy Fun America organizer Samson Racciopi.

The groups were seen hitting each other until police in riot gear broke up the fight and arrested two people, including McCarron.

The second suspect is expected to be arraigned on Tuesday.

McCarron is due back in court in January.

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