Published: Tue, August 29, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Counter protesters claim victory in Berkeley demonstrations

Counter protesters claim victory in Berkeley demonstrations

Protesters confront San Francisco Police officers outside of Alamo Square Park in San Francisco, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017.

University of California at Berkeley police are asking the public to stay away from a planned rally today on the school's campus.

Berkeley police chief Andrew Greenwood defended how police handled the protest, saying they made a strategic decision to let the anarchists enter to avoid more violence. Those uniformed officers did not respond to those provocations, retreating back from Civic Center Park after it became clear that the right's anti-Marxist brigades would be a no-show.

Joey Gibson, founder of Patriot Prayer, was hit with a pole, sprayed with tear gas and struck with thrown debris as he tried to escape from an angry crowd, as shown on video taken at the protest.

Police in riot gear lined up Saturday along a fence erected at the park after the right-wing group Patriot Prayer said it planned to hold a news conference at the location.

Separately, the anarchist group beat, kicked and punched four other people at the rally.

A Ruptly producer, who was heard telling the protesters to back off, reported that the camera was damaged and they had to cancel the feed.

Despite the fact that rally organizer Amber Cummings had earlier canceled her demonstration, saying she anxious that protesters would attack her supporters, an estimated 4,000 people still showed up in the record heat to voice their opposition to white supremacists and other "alt-right" groups, which accounted for about two dozen in all. Some right-wing protesters still came out to demonstrate.

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An anti-Marxism rally scheduled for Sunday at Martin Luther King Jr.

"If people threaten rallies, no matter what side they're on, they're just bullying them not to have rallies anymore, especially when those rallies are just about free speech", says David Feiner, a Trump supporter who says he's from Southern California.

"You are an immigrant", Karla Fonseca said.

Several other people also yelled at the man, who said he was born in Mexico but supports Trump's proposal to build a wall along the border. It was expected to draw members of white supremacist and nationalist groups, but only a few far-right supporters have turned out.

At least one of the people detained had violated the no-mask rule, according to the local station KCRA. The Chronicle reported that some participants carried "signs reading 'Berkeley stands united against hate, ' 'Queers against hate, ' and 'End white supremacy, '" while others handed out "no hate" shields.

A right-wing rally billed as "No To Marxism in America" was initially called for Sunday afternoon but then canceled over the weekend.

Gibson said he downgraded the rally to a news conference elsewhere in the city because he feared civic leaders and police would fail to protect the group.

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