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Healthcare reform advocate punched by opponent at Nelson event

A 65-year-old man rallying in favor of healthcare reform was knocked to the ground by a man who disagreed with the call for a government-run health plan outside of a Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce meeting headlined by Sen. Bill Nelson.

Luis Perrero of Coral Gables was standing among about 40 Democratic activists and union workers when a man in a Ford pick-up truck pulled up to the rally at Jungle Island and began arguing with the crowd. The man, who only gave his first name as Raul, said Perrero called him a Spanish curse word. He punched Perrero in the face. Perrero fell to the ground and lay motionless for a few minutes.

"I'm amazed the way this has become such a politicized issue,'' Perrero said, while still sitting on the ground but sitting up. "It shows that people who are against the public option will resort to anything, including battery on a senior citizen to prevent healthcare reform.''

Wilhelmina Ford, another healthcare reform proponent at the rally, said, "It was totally uncalled for. The guy may have had words with him but he didn't have to hit him in the face.''

Fire rescue responded to the scene, where a Herald reporter was present.