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Far-Right Rallies In Bay Area Fizzle While Counterprotesters Rejoice

29 August 2017

A mostly peaceful demonstration turned violent in Berkeley, Calif., when left-wing counter-protesters clashed with right-wing protesters and Trump supporters on Sunday.

The rally happened a day after a much-hyped event called Patriot Prayer-to be attended by neo-Nazis, white nationalists and right-wing extremists-failed to coalesce across the bay in San Francisco, leaving instead the streets filled with counter-protesters.

"The fact that we have to leave this way is a shame", says Benitez. As Gibson backed away with his hands in the air, the protesters pepper sprayed him. He tells KTVU he came from Orange County to support the No to Marxist Rally, but that he and his companion Irma Hinojosa were forced out of the park by counter protestors. Gibson escaped them by running behind police officers dressed in riot gear. Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson showed up at the park but was pepper-sprayed by Antifa members. Civic Center Park on Sunday afternoon in preparation for the "No to Marxism in Berkeley" rally.

"You are an immigrant", Karla Fonseca, a protester, shouted as the man held a sign for Trump.

The counterprotesters ― who dwarfed pockets of demonstrators wearing "Make America Great Again" hats or flying flags touting President Donald Trump ― showed up even though the "No to Marxism in America" event organizer had called it off for fear of violence.

That rally saw a woman killed after an avowed white supremacist rammed his auto into a group of anti-racism counter-protesters.

Several of those targeted for violence were known for pro-Trump or far-right views, according to the Los Angeles Times and SFGate.

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At least one of the people detained had violated the no-mask rule, according to the local station KCRA.

Police pulled one supporter of Trump out of the park over a wall by his shirt as a crowd of about two dozen counter-demonstrators surrounded him and chanted "Nazi go home" and pushed him towards the edge of the park.

In San Francisco on Friday, thousands of anti-racist protesters blocked streets and intersections to protest a far-right rally whose organizers never showed up.

Mayor Ed Lee defended the city's response, saying, "If people want to have the stage in San Francisco, they better have a message that contributes to people's lives rather than find ways to hurt them".

Despite the cancellation, counter-demonstration organizers chose to proceed with the "Rally Against Hate".

Student activism was born during the 1960s free-speech movement at Berkeley, when thousands of students at the university mobilised to demand that the school drop its ban on political activism.