Don’t miss the Berkeleyside Twitter feed for the latest reports from the streets.
Update, 6:15 p.m. Nearly a year after protesters last clashed on the streets of Berkeley, groups on the left and right returned Sunday ready for confrontation. But most of the antifa and socialist demonstrators didn’t get a chance to meet the 30 or so on the right and far-right who showed up to Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park. Police said their focus was “separation of rival groups, confiscating weapons and arresting those carrying weapons in prohibited areas.” Officers said they confiscated “dozens of weapons.” BPD reported 20 arrests, and significant vandalism, but no injuries. See the overview.
Update, 3:15 p.m. BPD confirmed it deployed smoke canisters after members of the crowd threw homemade explosives, including M-80s, at officers. BPD also used rubber “less-lethal” projectiles in response to the explosives, on Center Street east of Milvia Street. White said there may be five more arrests pending.
He also said BPD got reports of about 20 vehicles that had been vandalized, mostly with broken windows, but one was also set on fire. Most of the vehicles were city vehicles, White said. There were also three dumpsters that were set on fire. Police confiscated a sledgehammer and metal poles throughout the day, in addition to other banned items.
No injuries had been reported as of 3:20 p.m., White said.
Update, 2:08 p.m. In addition to the three arrests BPD reported earlier, authorities have reported six others: Sarena Lynette Perez, 39, of Oakland was arrested near Civic Center Park in connection with possession of a banned weapon; Blake Griffith, 29, of Oakland was arrested near Addison and Martin Luther King Jr. Way on suspicion of vandalism; Thomas Parker, 22, of Berkeley was arrested near Francisco and McGee on suspicion of working with others to commit a crime; Maria Lewis, 29, of Emeryville was arrested near Francisco and McGee on suspicion of carrying a banned weapon and working with others to commit a crime; David Siegfried Chou, 26, of Santa Cruz was arrested near Francisco and McGee on suspicion of possession of a banned weapon and working with others to commit a crime; Freddy Martinez, 31, of Berkeley was arrested near Civic Center Park on suspicion of battery; and Ericka Sokolower-Shain, 28, of Berkeley was arrested near Hearst and McGee on suspicion of possession of a banned weapon. Police said at 1:25 p.m. that there have been 10 arrests total. They have asked anyone with information about criminal activity to report it.
The large anti-fascist demonstration that began around 11 a.m. — and tried unsuccessfully to reach Civic Center Park despite marching for two hours — has ended, reports Frances Dinkelspiel. Some members are walking down Hearst Avenue for a “solidarity rally” at California and Delaware streets. But they say they are no longer trying to confront anyone from the other side.
Update, 1:46 p.m. BPD has reported that members of the demonstration have been seen “throwing fireworks and other dangerous items.” Berkeley police also deployed smoke, Officer White confirmed just after 1:40 p.m.
Update, 1:30 p.m. Even though police have kept the main march away from Civic Center Park, perhaps 100-150 demonstrators from the right and left made it into the park earlier. Berkeleyside’s Natalie Orenstein reports there have been numerous scuffles and shouting matches: “Lots of tension at times, with some calmer moments.” On the left are the groups Refuse Fascism and By Any Means Necessary, along with a few others. Those on the right include Antonio Foreman and people connected with Infowars, such as Owen Shroyer, as well as a handful of people who have attended previous Berkeley rallies.
Update, 1:09 p.m. A large march estimated at between 500 and several thousand people has been marching through downtown Berkeley unable to reach Civic Center Park due to repeated police lines. Berkeley Police spokesman Officer Byron White explained the situation: “We’re not going to allow anyone who has banned items into that park. We’re also making an effort to keep opposing groups separated.”
Berkeleyside’s Frances Dinkelspiel, who is following the march, says there has been significant frustration on the ground because of the repeated police lines.
There have now been eight arrests, White said. Stay tuned for details. White said he could not provide crowd-size estimates as far as who has shown up on either side of the political spectrum. He said numerous groups are participating in the demonstrations.
Update, 12:30 p.m. Hundreds of protesters are marching through downtown Berkeley streets, and may end up at Civic Center Park. See the Berkeleyside Twitter feed for live updates.
UVA prof Walter Heineke organized some of the counter-protests in Charlottesville, where he says he got maced by white supremacists. "The fascists thought this was going to be their year. We've denied them that in C-ville, Berkeley, SF, Boston." #Berkeleyprotests #AllOutBayArea pic.twitter.com/CmFGSlkwkO— Berkeleyside (@berkeleyside) August 5, 2018
There have already been scuffles at the park, as some protesters tried to shove each other off a fountain there. The anti-fascist and socialist march, of several hundred people, has not yet reached the park.
Scuffle on fountain where Cummings is https://t.co/WSHKA45MYH— Berkeleyside (@berkeleyside) August 5, 2018
Update: 11:40 a.m. Berkeley police have already made three arrests in connection with Sunday’s protests, authorities report: Jason Wallach, 49, of Oakland was arrested near Ohlone Park on suspicion of possession of a banned weapon; Kate Brenner, 69, of Oakland was arrested near Hearst Avenue and Grant Street on suspicion of possession of a banned weapon; and Kristin Edith Koster, 50, of Berkeley was arrested near Ohlone Park on suspicion of possession of a dangerous weapon.
Officer Byron White of the Berkeley Police Department said BPD also towed a truck, from Hearst and McGee avenues, between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. The truck had banned weapons on it, he said. White said the truck was towed because it was “involved in a criminal offense.”
White declined to say exactly what the banned weapons were that were associated with the truck or arrests, but he said he’s already seen shields, signs with rocks taped to the back of them and long metal crowbars.
Original story, 11:25 a.m. Authorities have closed numerous downtown Berkeley streets in preparation for Sunday’s planned rallies, set to take place at Ohlone Park and Civic Center Park, and on the streets between.
Berkeleyside’s Natalie Orenstein and Frances Dinkelspiel have gone out to see what’s happening. Follow their live tweets.
Streets closed to vehicle traffic include parts of University Avenue, Shattuck Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way. See the map below for the impacted areas. “Because of expected demonstrations in the area of Civic Center Park, several roads are blocked for vehicle traffic. If travelling [sic] through the area, you should plan for delays and consider alternate routes,” BPD said in a Nixle alert. Authorities did not say when streets would re-open.
Friday, the city of Berkeley issued a list of rules related to banned weapons and other items for both the parks and surrounding streets. Banned items include “sticks, pipes, poles and anything else that can be used for a ‘riot.'” Many items have been banned in a large swath of downtown Berkeley and the Southside neighborhood. Other items, such as facial coverings, have only been banned in the parks themselves.
Police warned demonstrators that the rules must be followed, writing on Twitter, “We will be making arrests.”
The city has also urged rally participants: “Don’t get baited by provocateurs. Stay safe at protests — and separate yourself from violence.”
Several scenes from downtown early Sunday appear above, courtesy of one of our community contributors. Share photos and videos with Berkeleyside. Please include appropriate caption and credit information.
Berkeleyside will update this post if there is significant news to share.