Protesters Clash in Berkeley - Arrests Made

Protesters Clash in Berkeley - Arrests Made

While some alt-right supporters did reportedly appear at Civic Center Park in Berkeley on Sunday, they were far outweighed by counterprotesters, who filled the streets with their chants of "No Trump, no KKK, no fascist U.S.!"

Dozens of anti-facists protesters, known as antifa, pounced when Joey Gibson, founder of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer, showed up with his crew. Some protesters set off purple smoke bombs. "Fighting hate with hate does not work and only makes each side more entrenched in their ideological camps".

About 1:30 p.m., police abandoned the security line at the Center Street and Milvia Street entrance to Civic Center Park, at which point protesters in the area stormed the park.

In the crowd were a range of people, including antifa, a Holocaust survivor, musical protesters and supporters of President Donald Trump. The rival protests encountered each other at Martin Luther King Civic Center Park where various brief fights reportedly broke out. Police in the area prepared for potential clashes amongst opposing groups by blocking off West Crescent park, which sits on the Berkeley campus, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The event was one of several rallies that had been called for Sunday in Berkeley, a day after a controversial freedom rally planned by Gibson in San Francisco fizzled amid throngs of counterprotesters. More than 3,000 people have said they will attend on the event's Facebook page.

Even so, he said he was being menaced Saturday by antifa and BAMN activists who followed the Patriot Prayer organizers and used Twitter to announce their whereabouts. Berkeley police said by mid-afternoon they'd arrested 14 protesters, but there were no reports of injuries or vandalism, perhaps because the right-wing demonstrators never showed up in large numbers.

Police also said anything that "covers or partially covers the face and shields the wearer's face from view, or partially from view, is prohibited".

A much smaller number of right-wing demonstrators were visible on the streets.

Public radio program Reveal says its host Al Letson, who was covering the event, intercepted a brawl when he saw a man being beaten by a group of protesters. In one incident observed by a Bay City News Service reporter, a man was chased out of the park and trapped against the wall at a gas station a few blocks away by a group of 35-50 people. Another was attacked by five black-clad antifas, each windmilling kicks and punches into a man desperately trying to protect himself.

Student activism was born during the 1960s free-speech movement at Berkeley, when thousands of students at the university mobilized to demand that the school drop its ban on political activism.

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