Roughly 2,000 anti-hate activists protested a canceled right-wing rally that was scheduled to take place in Berkeley, CA, on Sunday. The rally, which was marketed as a demonstration for “free speech” and “against Marxism,” was abandoned by organizers amidst fears of violence (read: they were scared).
While the “Rally Against Hate” activists were relatively peaceful, a group of masked anarchists who descended on Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Civic Center Park later in the afternoon disrupted what appeared to be a calm demonstration. According to the Associated Press, roughly 100 “black-clad anarchists” broke through police lines surrounding the park and closed in on the far right-wing rally attendees.
After busting the police line and occupying the square, anarchists reportedly attacked at least five people; one of those was Joey Gibson, who organized Saturday’s failed “Patriot Prayer” rally in San Francisco. Hooded anarchists, who identified themselves as such with flags, pepper-sprayed Gibson. Elsewhere, anarchists assaulted four other pro-Trump protesters near the park. Police responded by setting off smoke bombs and targeting anarchists with tear gas.
Here’s a video of one of the incidents that will be deployed as propaganda by right wing extremists for months to come (the man in the video was apparently pepper spraying people).
Berkeley police chief Andrew Greenwood said that Sunday’s protest and counter-protest resulted in 13 arrests, most of which were for possessing banned objects. Despite the isolated violent incidents, witnesses belied the idea that the Sunday’s protest was largely violent.
However peaceful Berkeley’s counter-protest was won’t matter to the extreme right and one person in particular: President Trump. After denouncing violence on “both sides” after Charlottesville, Trump will surely feel vindicated when he reads reports of Berkeley’s counter-protest. Fantastic.