What initially began as a peaceful march in favor of President Donald Trump’s agenda at the University of California, Berkeley quickly morphed into a bloody riot as anti-Trump counter-protesters attempted to disrupt the event Saturday evening.
The Berkeley march, one of several “March 4 Trump” rallies that occurred nationwide Saturday, concluded with at least 10 arrests and several injuries as supporters of Trump scuffled with the counter-protesters. It ultimately took a group of police officers clad in riot gear to squelch the violence.
“We have a right in America to speak our opinions and speak our voice even if some others might think it’s wrong.”
“The American dream is all but dead,” Trump supporter Mike Bee said, a local NBC News outlet reported. “We are here to protect it.”
People wearing motorcycle helmets, goggles, gas masks, and bandanas punched, hit and pepper-sprayed the Trump backers. They also set off smoke bombs and fireworks, NBC News reported. American flags and red caps bearing Trump’s motto, “Make America Great Again,” were burned at the scene. As Trump supporters chanted, “Build the wall,” anti-Trumpers countered with “No Donald Trump, no KKK, no racist, fascist USA.”
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Eventually, several Trump supporters sustained bloody injuries. One man wearing a red shirt emblazoned with the words “Trump is my president” exited the clash with a bloodied face.
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One Trump supporter was reportedly thrown to the ground and beaten by the opposition.
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An elderly man with a red “Make American Great Again” cap was photographed screaming on the ground after reportedly being pepper-sprayed.
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Another Trump supporter fell to the ground after reportedly being pepper-sprayed, and a Trump supporter appeared to be trying to comfort an elderly woman who was crying amid the fray.
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In addition, a counter-protester even burned a sign printed with the words “Free Speech.”
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“We have a right in America to speak our opinions and speak our voice even if some others might think it’s wrong,” Tito Mena of Stockton told NBC News, adding that the rally was supposed to promote productive political discussion. “As long as you’re not causing harm to others, I will uphold the right for everyone to speak.”
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This is the second time in the past several weeks that Berkeley has been the scene of rioting and violence. Some of the counter-protesters who crashed the “March 4 Trump” rally Saturday appeared to be members of the “black bloc” group that officials at University of California, Berkeley partially blamed for the campus riot in the February, in which malcontents protested a scheduled appearance from conservative provocateur and former Breitbart Rditor Milo Yiannopoulos that was subsequently canceled.