After Peaceful Demonstration in San Francisco, Second Counter-Protest Expected in Berkeley

After Peaceful Demonstration in San Francisco, Second Counter-Protest Expected in Berkeley

Thousands assembled in Berkeley, California on Sunday for a massive "Rally Against Hate" meant to counter an ultimately meek far-right protest, with clashes among the two groups leading to the arrests of at least ten people.

There was "no need for a confrontation over a grass patch", Berkeley police chief Andrew Greenwood said, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Unlike many groups on the right and left, antifa doesn't publicly eschew violence but instead sanctions it as self-defense against white supremacists and, in many cases, police trying to maintain order at rallies, marches, and protests. Genocides in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia started with "talking that dehumanizes people", she said. Hooded anarchists, who identified themselves as such with flags, pepper-sprayed Gibson.

"Right now, this is victory", protester Benjamin Sierra told The Associated Press.

Some counter protestors set off purple smoke bombs possibly as a diversion to police.

Some of the left-wing protesters yelled at a Latin Trump supporter, saying he should be ashamed for supporting the president. Berkeley police have attempted to control the crowds and avoid violence by cordoning off Martin Luther King Jr.

Separately, the anarchist group beat, kicked and punched four other people at the rally. One poor man had urine poured in his face.

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Groups that planned the counter-demonstrations were concerned that white nationalists might show up and there would violence like the kind two weeks ago in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a woman was killed.

Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson spoke Saturday in a park in the small city of Pacifica, a suburb of San Francisco, after changing the location and format of the event several times.

City officials denied at least three requests for permits from demonstrators from both political sides, which led organizers of both far right-wing rallies to ask supporters not to show up out of concern for their safety. Every so often, chanting counterprotesters would encircle someone wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat and chase them out of the park, often as police officers would try to shield the Trump supporter.

Counter protesters chanted, "No Trump, no KKK, no racist US".

Another rally took place in Ohlone Park. In addition to Berkeley police, members of the Alameda County Sheriff's Department, Alameda police, and the California Highway Patrol are on hand. If we don't stand against the attack on free speech in Berkeley, then it won't be long before it's in my neighborhood and I have to be anxious about my political beliefs.

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