Trump Supporters and Opponents Brawl at California Park
April 18, 2017
Supporters and opponents of President Donald Trump were holding competing rallies April 15 at a Berkeley, California park when a fight broke out which resulted in at least 20 arrests as cops attempted to keep the groups apart according to Reuters. As fist fights between people broke out there were cans and bottles throw between a barricade separating them, police ended up having to throw an explosive device at one point in hopes of regaining peace. People were viewed as having bloodied faces and minor injuries by a Reuters reporter.
There were eleven people injured and seven people were taken to a hospital in unknown condition, Berkeley Police spokesman Byron White said in a CNN report. “A large number of fights have occurred and numerous fireworks have been thrown in the crowds,” Berkeley police said in a statement according to CNN. “There have also been numerous reports of pepper spray being used in the crowd.”
The incident occurred after opponents of Trump created a counter-protest against a pro-Trump event put on by Trump supporters called “Patriots Day”, which was suppose to be a free speech rally and picnic according to Reuters. It was estimated by a Reuters reporter that around 500 to 1000 people were at the event as the rallies reach its climax.
As the fights broke out the crowd started moving to the streets, and traffic cones, fireworks and bottles were thrown into crowds according to CNN. A Berkeley station for BART, the mass transit system, was shut down because of the riots and police forces ended up using pepper spray on the crowd. Police confiscated prohibited items including hand-held flagpoles, a knife, a stun gun, helmets and signs, and flags attached to poles.
One person at the riot was Nathan Damigo, a white nationalist and student from California State University, Stanislaus in Turlock, who was caught on video punching a woman according to The Sacramento Bee. The video posted on Youtube by WeAreChange.org shows Damigo, 31 seconds into the more than four minute video, striking the woman, who then proceeded to fall down. After there is a shot of her holding her hand to her face and wincing while leaning against a pillar. It is currently not known if there was any interaction between the two beforehand.
Counter-protesters dressed in black and wearing masks were among the Trump opponents, while the other side included Trump supporters, free speech advocates, self-proclaimed “patriots” and “nationalists”, and other groups as reported by Reuters.
“As a veteran, I like the track America is on, and that Trump is willing to stand and say we are still America and we are not going to be globalist, we’re not going to be a communist country,” Daryl Tempesta, a 52-year-old who served in U.S. Air Force near the end of the Cold War, who went in support of Trump said. “That’s a message I can get behind.”
Despite the disturbance and cancellation of a weekly farmer’s market event, due to the event, a stand was still opened during the rallies. “We decided to show up anyway because this is our livelihood,” said Tim Mueller, a farmer who owns the stall.
The fight continued on to one of the city’s main intersections with at least 100 people where they continued yelling and fighting each other, there the police presence was smaller with only two to three officers seen near the crossroads.