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Rhode Island GOP candidate out of race after allegedly punching opponent at abortion protest

Republican Rhode Island state Senate candidate Jeann Lugo dropped out of the race on Saturday after allegedly punching his Democratic opponent in the face at an abortion protest Friday night, The Washington Post reported.

"Last night, after speaking at our Roe rally, my Republican opponent — a police officer — violently attacked me," Democratic candidate Jennifer Rourke tweeted. "This is what it is to be a Black woman running for office. I won't give up."

Lugo, a Providence police officer who was off duty at the time of the incident, says he "stepped in to protect someone that a group of agitators was attacking." The police department has placed Lugo on administrative leave and opened a criminal investigation into his actions.

The protest erupted outside the Rhode Island State House in response to the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey and send the issue of abortion back to the states.

World leaders — including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — condemned the ruling as a step backward for women's rights, as did President Biden.

Former President Donald Trump called the decision "the biggest WIN for LIFE in a generation."