Attacks against Trump supporters began shortly before the march was set to commence.
The mainstream media has stayed surprisingly silent as some pro-Trump rallies held over the weekend turned violent when anti-Trump protestors and self-proclaimed anarchists showed up to the “March 4 Trump” marches.
The marches were organized across the country and one such event took place in Berkeley, California at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, only a few blocks from the university. The college is well-known for its liberal students, so it was no surprise that anti-Trump protesters made an appearance, but no one was prepared for the violence that ensued.
A few minutes before the march was set to commence, fights broke out after shouting matches escalated into kicking and hitting each other. With bare fists, assault with signs, and the involvement of police dressed in riot gear, the result of the fighting was 10 arrests.
According to Berkeley police, five were for battery, four were for assault with a deadly weapon, and one was for resisting arrest. Law enforcement also confiscated metal pipes, baseball bats, two-by-four blocks of wood and bricks. Seven people were treated on-site for injuries, but none of them needed or wanted to go to the hospital.
With perhaps the biggest backlash to the pro-Trump rallies, Berkeley spearheaded the anti-Trump sentiment on March 4th and photos and videos of the clashes made rounds on social media. It’s surprising that coverage of these protests, especially those resulting in injury, has been largely avoided amongst mainstream media outlets.
While it’s easy to blame one side or the other, one aspect of the fighting that makes this difficult is that another group, the self-proclaimed anarchists, showed up in Berkeley to wreak havoc. The anarchists were easy to distinguish, wearing all black and donning cloth bandanas to let people know they only wanted to disrupt any semblance of peace that might have been attainable.
This isn’t the first time that anarchists have thrown off the balance of a potentially amicable demonstration, as their rioting disrupted Washington D.C. on Inauguration Day and disgusted even those that don’t agree with Trump’s politics.
“These people just want to fight,” Nancy Chase, a Trump supporter, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “They are anarchists in black, and it’s not what we are about. I just want to stand up for liberty.”
These groups take “advantage of the legitimate protesters to destroy things and emphasize their anarchist roots,” David Gomez, a former senior FBI counterterrorism official in Seattle, told The Washington Post.
This seems to be the resounding sentiment, whether or not attendees supported Trump, as Kiki Valenzuela, a sophomore at Berkeley High School, told the Chronicle. Wearing a shirt that read “liberal elite,” she said she was excited to get involved locally but was horrified when people began beating on each other. She moved to the outskirts of the crowd and was glad she wasn’t involved, as the 16-year-old only wanted to express her beliefs, not act out violently against the Trump supporters like many others did.
Trump supporter David Tomes attended the march and said he has been targeted for his political beliefs, despite advocating for health and mindfulness through the yoga studio he owns. The 49-year-old said,
“This is the most immature and disgusting display of human interaction.”
It’s possible that even more arrests occurred after the event, as police encouraged others to report crimes later because the volume of the crowd prevented them from catching all offenders.
Berkeley made news earlier this year when Milo Yiannopoulos, former senior editor for Breitbart, was scheduled to speak at U.C. Berkeley on Feb. 1. Many students and community members disagreed with this decision and violently protested and rioted until his speech was cancelled. They went so far as to set off fireworks and throw molotov cocktails, resulting in a large fire outside of the building that Yiannopoulos was staying in. Trump responded to the cancellation by accusing U.C. Berkeley of violating freedom of speech, something that seems to have been infringed upon once again with this violent outburst at the pro-Trump rally.
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