BERKELEY, Calif. (KTVU) - Two planned protests in the city of Berkeley on Sunday are prompting concerns about the possibility of violence. Similar clashes happened in the spring and summer of last year when so-called “alt right” groups clashed with anti-fascist groups.
A “No to Marxism” rally and a “Stop the Hate” protest were both scheduled to take place at Civic Center park Sunday. Neither group obtained a permit from the city, according to Berkeley city spokesman Matthai Chakko said. “We’ve seen what the patterns are and one of the patterns is using nonviolent protests as a cover for violence and what we encourage people to do is to separate themselves from violence,” Chakko said.
The city issued a list of items banned from Ohlone and Civic Center parks on Sunday. The banned items include: metal pipes, baseball bats, glass bottles, pepper spray, knives or daggers, shields and slingshots. The city is also banning people from wearing masks, scarves or bandannas or anything covering their faces unless they’re for religious or medical reasons.
Yongyong Ji, who lives just two blocks from Civic Center park, said he supports what the city is doing. “If you want to peacefully express your views that’s great, but if you come to provoke or to have a fight, I don’t think you should be here,” Ji said.
Piper Swim was among a group of women who came to Civic Center park on Saturday to pray for peace. She said she would attend the protest on Sunday in support of free speech. “It’s part of our heritage as a city,” she said. “It’s an important part that we’re trying to make sure stays alive.”