And four young women, including a lesbian couple, face assault charges in the fray, according to a report in The Providence (R.I.) Journal.
The men were members of The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, a national organization headquartered in Spring Grove.
According to The Providence Journal, those allegedly assaulted were Rex Teodosio, 38; Jose Ferraz Jr., 20; Joseph Ferrara, 53; and Fernando Desantos, 47, all who stood near the Rhode Island Mall in Warwick July 29, holding signs and passing out fliers.
Two women driving by the group threw a bottle out of the window at them, and one yelled "we'll be back," the Journal reported.
The women were identified by the Journal as Amanda L. Zangrilli, 23, and her girlfriend, Kristen A. Scungio, 19, both of West Warwick. Zangrilli told the Journal they had intended to show up with signs opposing those displayed by the society. She alleged that when they drove by, the group shouted anti-gay slurs at them, and Scungio threw a soda bottle.
That spurred them to drive to a 17-year-old friend's house, and gather whatever items they could. According to police, the Journal reported, the three returned, and passerby Melissa Migliaccio, 22, of Cranston, joined them, throwing bottles of mayonnaise, ketchup, salsa and blue paint at society members.
Things escalated and three of the men were allegedly sprayed with pepper spray and one was reportedly punched in the face. The women face charges of assault and disorderly conduct, and the 17-year-old faces charges of felony assault with a dangerous substance.
"I feel immature," Scungio told The Journal. "We obviously shouldn't have gone up to them at all, because none of this would have happened."
Scungio said that, during the fray, the men called them "Antichrist, homosexuals and sinners." A news release from the organization alleged one of the women punched their photographer in the face. Scungio told the Journal she instinctively pushed the camera out of her way.
"I was wicked scared," she said. "It turned into, like, a riot."
None of the men with the society were charged. They could not be reached for comment, but, according to the Journal, they denied they shouted anti-gay slurs.
Society officials said the organization was founded to support what they call the three pillars -- tradition, family and property. They oppose same-sex marriage, abortion, socialism and communism. The organization is a 501C3 Catholic-based charity that has a boys' school and published religious books and pamphlets. The group is headquartered at 1358 Jefferson Road, Spring Grove.
Contacted at the headquarters this week, group director of student activities John E. Ritchie said it's not unusual for the group to receive threats during its rallies.
"People yell, shout, spit or throw objects from moving vehicles," he said. "No volunteers have ever been seriously injured."
But Ritchie, who was at a rally in New York City the day of the incident, said the Rhode Island protest escalated beyond anything the group had previously seen.
"It was very disconcerting that those who promote tolerance used violence against us," he said. Ritchie added the group does not disparage individuals in its protests.