Another Berkeley Protest Ends in Violence
Berkeley, having a reputation as one of the most liberal places in the U.S., has once again descended into violence as thousands of counter-protesters showed up to demonstrate against a “No Marxism in America” right-wing rally.
Several people were assaulted and beaten as members of the Antifa movement attacked members of the original right-wing rally.
The rally was called off by the organizers who feared violence and unrest, but several members of the group decided to show up anyway and found themselves facing down thousands of counter-protestors. Some estimates put the number of right-wing rally attendees as low as 25.
The violence is just another addition to the long list of protests nationwide that have sparked clashes between right-wing and left-wing activists. In Charlottesville, Virginia, thousands of right-wing, alt-right, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis gathered to protest the removal of a Civil War statue honoring southern general Robert E. Lee. The resulting clash between the two groups resulted in hundreds of injuries and the death of one counter-protestor.
The Charlottesville protests sparked a number of debates over whether violence is justified when confronting people upholding abhorrent views like neo-Nazis and white supremacists, while others questioned the extent of free speech.
While that debate continues, the U.S. finds itself grappling with a growing political divide that is racking the country. With violence seemingly a staple of many political protests across the country, the nation seems more divided now than it has in years.
President Donald Trump did little to ease tensions as he commented on the Charlottesville carnage, claiming there was violence on “both sides” at a press conference without explicitly condemning neo-Nazis and other hate groups. The next day, the president made a clearer denunciation of the hate groups, only to then walk those comments back with a return to his “violence on both sides” position.
Berkeley has also been home to several violent clashes in the past. For instance, right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos was barred from speaking at the University of California, Berkeley campus, after protesters began setting fire to property and otherwise behaving violently, shutting down his talk.
At the moment, there seems little hope that tensions will ease as the political divide continues to grow wider, setting the stage for further violence.
“Thousands rally in Berkeley after right-wing protest is canceled; some scuffle with police,” East Bay Times, August 27, 2017.