Hundreds of pro-Trump demonstrators and counter-protesters clashed Saturday at a “Patriots Day” rally in Berkeley, the third time the groups engaged in violent confrontations on city streets in recent months. Fistfights broke out near Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, where Trump supporters had scheduled a rally. Fireworks and smoke bombs were thrown into the crowd, and a few demonstrators were doused with pepper spray. Both groups threw rocks and sticks at each other and used a large trash bin as a battering ram as the crowd moved around the perimeter of the park. One bank boarded up its ATMs before the rally as a precaution. About 250 police officers were deployed to the scene by mid-afternoon after officials sought assistance from the neighboring Oakland Police Department. Twenty-one people were arrested, including some on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, according to Officer Byron White of the Berkeley Police Department. Eleven people were injured with at least six taken to a hospital for treatment, including one stabbing victim. Police confiscated knives, stun guns and poles, White said. Stewart Rhodes, founder of the citizen militia group known as the Oath Keepers, said he came from Montana with about 50 others to protect Trump supporters. They were joined by bikers and others who vowed to fight members of an anti-fascist group if they crossed police barricades. “I don’t mind hitting” the counter-demonstrators, Rhodes said. “In fact, I would kind of enjoy it.” But Rhodes credited Berkeley police for new tactics that mostly kept the two sides apart and “our side chilled and relaxed,” though sporadic fights broke out among both groups throughout the morning and afternoon. “It’s getting sporty,” said Oath Keeper John Karriman, 59, who is from Missouri and was among the group’s security leaders. AJ Alegria, 31, of Sacramento said he also came to Berkeley to help defend Trump supporters. He said he pursued a counter-demonstrator down a side street and found himself surrounded by a dozen protesters in black masks who he said attacked him with sticks and pepper spray. “These people create violence all the time… somebody has to stand up to them,” said Alegria, who was injured in the fight. He was treated by Trump supporters who bandaged his head, washed off the pepper spray and gave him encouragement, saying, “You’ve earned your stripes, bro.” Alegria wasn’t the only one injured. “Stand up, America! Stand up!” shouted a Trump supporter in the middle of Center Street with a bandage on his head and streaks of blood on a sign that read “Stop Liberal Intolerance.” Brenna Lundy, 28, said she drove from San Francisco to attend what she thought was an organizing event against the alt-right. As the violence unfolded, she stayed and attempted to talk to some of the people shouting insults at her. “So I genuinely wanted to talk. I am trying to talk to you,” Lundy said to a woman screaming at her that “Obama hates blacks.” Another woman from the pro-Trump side came up to Lundy and, putting a hand to her ear, said, “Ask her why she hates white people.” Lundy looked confused.
I bet! Good for that woman for asking Lundy that question! There IS an opportunity here, folks. It’s amazing how things changes, and people’s attitudes change, when they see these out-of-control, extreme-liberal, anti-America, socialist/fascist, pc police and speech nazis (oh I could go on all day long with additional adjectives, but you get the idea) for who they really are. They hate America, they hate Trump for reasons they don’t even know, and they just want to cause mayhem. It’s just angst with no purpose. And, they’re cowards with the black masks on. They’re unwilling to have civil debate. They’re all for free speech…until its speech they don’t agree with. Then they want it censured like the fascists and nazis that they are. Losers..