PoliZette

Anti-Trump Violence Erupts in Berkeley, Again

Fourteen arrested when leftist protesters target 'Patriots Day' free-speech ralliers in California

Thousands of protesters gathered for so-called “Tax Marches” in at least 180 cities across 48 states Saturday to demand President Donald Trump release his tax returns — but it was the rally in Berkeley, California, that stole headlines for acts of anti-Trump violence.

In Berkeley the Tax March, which took place April 15 on the U.S.’s traditional “Tax Day,” collided with a counter-protest dubbed the “Patriots Day” rally.

“Absolutely chaotic scenes in Berkeley where pro- & anti-Trump protesters are clashing.”

“I got hit in the back of the head with some sticks,” Ben Bergquam of Fresno, a “Patriots Day” rallier, told the San Francisco Chronicle as blood streamed down his face and as he held a crumpled sign reading, “Stop Liberal Intolerance.”

“I don’t agree with everything Trump says, but I don’t agree with violence,” Berquam said.

Numerous fistfights broke out as anti-Trumpers targeted pro-Trump ralliers in Berkeley. A firecracker explosion occurred at one point, while police clad in riot gear struggled to subdue the crowd and move it to safety. Many people were left beaten, bloodied, and dealing with the aftereffects of pepper spray.

“Absolutely chaotic scenes in Berkeley where pro- & anti-Trump protesters are clashing,” BuzzFeed editor and writer David Mack tweeted Saturday, including a video clip of the violence.

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Just last month, marching Trump supporters were similarly set upon by a group of anti-Trump protesters in Berkeley. “Patriots Day” attendee Lincoln Smith told The Chronicle one anti-Trump protester accused him of being pro-Trump simply because his shoe laces were red.

Terri Spencer told The Chronicle that she wanted to attend the April 15 event to show support for Trump and his backers following the March unrest in Berkeley, adding that the Tax Marchers disrupting the “Patriots Day” rally “are the fascists, they are the ones trying to shut down our free speech.”

“It’s despicable, it’s deplorable, it’s ridiculous,” Spencer said of the anti-Trump protesters’ violence, according to The Chronicle.

Ultimately, at least 14 people were arrested at the Berkeley protest.

“After hours of street fights, alt-right, proud boys, and nazis have taken downtown Berkeley,” Mother Jones senior reporter Shane Bauer tweeted Saturday.

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Most other cities where Tax Marches were held experienced a much calmer climate than Berkeley. Still sore over Trump’s ability to claim victory on Election Day without releasing any of his taxes, the march’s attendees blasted the president with hyperbolic calls for his removal from office.

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“I don’t respect this president. I don’t trust this president. He’s not working in the best interests of the American people,” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) told those gathered at the march in Washington, D.C. “I will fight every day until he is impeached.”

Waters proceeded to lead the marchers in a chant of “impeach 45” against the nation’s 45th president. “No more secrets, no more lies” proved to be another popular chant with the anti-Trump crowd.

“Show the people your taxes. Stop stonewalling, stop hiding,” Waters added. “The one percent will be the only ones who meaningfully benefit on the backs of millions of already struggling Americans.”

Even though leaked portions of Trump’s 2005 tax returns showed that he paid $36 million in taxes that year, Waters and the other leftwing protesters insisted the president was hiding something sinister.

“Leading #TaxMarch Raleigh earlier today,” tweeted Logan Smith, the communications director for Progress NC Action in North Carolina, as he included a picture filled with a myriad of signs. Signs read, “Investigate Trump,” “Resist Trump,” “What are you hiding?” and more.

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PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected].