Berkeley Protest Turns Violent, 'Antifa' Protesters Attack Trump Supporters

An anti-fascist counter-protester hurls a newspaper box toward white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the 'alt-right' during the 'Unite the Right' rally
An anti-fascist counter-protester hurls a newspaper box during the 'Unite the Right' rally / Getty Images
August 28, 2017

A peaceful protest in Berkeley, Calif. turned violent over the weekend after "Antifa" demonstrators attacked President Donald Trump supporters and organizers who initially scheduled, but later cancelled, an "anti-Marxist" rally.

The Trump supporters' "No Marxism in America" rally was canceled for safety reasons due to several of the intended speakers being linked to white nationalist sentiments. Nonetheless, thousands of protestors—both pro-Turmp and anti-Trump—arrived at Berkeley's Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Park for a peaceful demonstration on Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The peace was soon interrupted, however, by tear gas and "violent skirmishes."

A group of more than 100 Antifa protesters, wearing all black and their faces covered, also showed up to the park to counter-protest the Trump supporters. The group skirted the police barricades and security check intended to remove any possible weapons.

Chaos soon erupted and was captured on social media.

Antifa protesters even beat up an individual wearing an American flag, and threatened to break the cameras of journalists and of anyone who filmed them, according to the Times.

"Today's story should have only been about the voices of tolerance overpowering those marred by bigotry," said Joanna Mendelson, a senior investigative researcher with the Anti-Defamation League. "Instead, any violent response, even if perpetrated by a small number, undermines their entire effort to counter the narrative."

Berkley officials planned for violence at the Sunday rally after the clash between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Va.

A spokeswoman for the Berkeley Police Department, Jennifer Coats, said 500 police officers were at the scene of the protests to ensure the safety of the demonstrators.

Police reported 14 arrests for violating the city's emergency rules by wearing masks and bringing potential weapons inside a demonstration area.