Twenty-one arrested in California as Trump supporters, opponents clash
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 18, 2017,
Apr 18, 2017, 6:30
Police intervene as Trump supporters clash with protesters at a "Patriots Day" free speech rally on April 15, 2017 in Berkeley.
Among the Trump opponents were some counter-protesters dressed in black and wearing masks.
People from both groups used improvised weapons, including sticks and empty Pepsi cans filled with concrete, to harm opponents. Media, citing police, reported that at least 11 people were injured.
In Washington, D.C., one of Trump's sharpest critics in the House spoke to protesters at the U.S. Capitol just before they set off on a march to the National Mall. The other side included self-described "patriots" and "nationalists", Trump supporters, free speech advocates, and other groups.
Police had erected a light, neon-orange plastic barricade between the two sides to separate the groups and were collecting sticks, flagpoles and other objects that protesters had brought, which were banned at the park in advance of the protest. The scene was similar to one that played out in early march, but this time Berkeley police and neighboring departments beefed up their presence. Civic Center Park and swelled to more than twice than that by 4 p.m. (7 p.m. ET), NBC Bay Area reported.
"These people create violence all the time... somebody has to stand up to them", said Alegria, who was injured in the fight and treated by Trump supporters who bandaged his head, washed off the pepper spray and gave him encouragement, saying, "You've earned your stripes, bro".
Another woman from the pro-Trump side came up to Lundy and, putting a hand to her ear, said, "Ask her why she hates white people".
A pro-Trump supporter is taken into custody by police during competing demonstrations at Martin Luther King Jr.
The unrest underscores the heightened political tensions that have taken hold since President Trump took office in January. A regularly scheduled farmer's market, which is usually held adjacent to the park, was canceled as a precaution.
Fistfights broke out, and protesters used pepper spray, metal pipes, lumber, bricks and other items that were prohibited for Saturday's protests. Berkeley has a long history of liberal activism and the University of California, Berkeley, was a centre of protests in the 1960s.
The marches coincided with the traditional April 15 deadline for United States federal tax returns, though the filing date was pushed back two days this year. Way. and spread to city streets. "That's a message I can get behind".