Tensions between counter protest groups in Berkeley spiraled out of control over the weekend. The violent clash spilled across the streets as groups fought with each other and responding police officers. Ultimately, the act of civil unrest led to the arrest of at least 20 suspects.
According to reports, a rally was scheduled to take place near Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Berkeley. The “No to Marxism in America 2” demonstration was a repeat of last year’s rally that ended in at least ten arrests. The group of individuals were coming together to both unite the right and demonstrate against the notion that such individuals are “racist, white supremacists”.
Counter-protesters also began to descend on the location to show their disapproval with the ongoing rally with a “Stop the Hate” demonstration. Over time, the several dozen “No to Marxism in America” protesters were greatly outnumbered by “Stop the Hate” and “Sweep Out the Fascists” members. Overall, about 500 people came out.
Police were prepared to handle this scheduled rally, but they also confirmed that neither group attempted to obtain a permit for their respective gatherings. Before the event was to take place, Berkeley listed out a number of items that would be banned during the events including flags on poles, ice picks, baseball bats, dynamite or other weapons. Police arrived in full riot gear prepared to keep the groups separated and calm.
At some point during the demonstrations, a group of “extremists” began to discharge explosives at police officers. The group damaged at least 21 cars, set fire to vehicles and trash cans and flashed various weapons. Police immediately began to take those extremists into custody. The majority of the 20 arrests were a result of possessing banned weapons.