Berkeley mayor exploring ‘legal means’ to stop planned alt-right rally

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Audrey McNamara/File

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In the face of a growing alt-right presence in Berkeley, Mayor Jesse Arreguín said in a press release Tuesday that his office is attempting to stop a planned alt-right rally from taking place later this month.

The rally, called No Marxism in America on the Facebook event page, is intended to “speak out and expose” the nation’s shift from a free country to a communist society. On the page, the event organizers said they “are asking people to come stand against Marxism” on Aug. 27. According to Arreguín, the event was organized online and the city has not approved the gathering — no organizer has tried to obtain a permit nor has one been granted.

“This rally, and its hateful rhetoric, is not welcome in our city,” Arreguín said in his statement. “We are currently exploring all options, including whether we have the legal means to stop this rally from taking place.”

This rally comes after hundreds marched in Oakland on Saturday and Sunday in response to the white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, that took place that weekend. Cat Brooks, co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project that organized Sunday’s protest, said at the protest that people were also protesting the impending Aug. 27 alt-right rally.

“Of course we’re here to stand in solidarity with Charlottesville, but also as a signal to the white supremacy neo-Nazis that are planning to be here on the 26th and 27th that they can expect resistance,” Brooks said at the protest.

Prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer and Identity Evrope founder Nathan Damigo are both planning on attending the Aug. 27 protest, according to the Mercury News. The event is scheduled to take place at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, where several alt-right marches occurred last spring, including one that was led by Damigo on April 15. Damigo, who allegedly assaulted a woman at the April 15 rally, was also a key figure in the Charlottesville protests.

In his statement, Arreguín advised Berkeley residents to avoid the Civic Center Park area Aug. 27, adding that “the best way to silence the white nationalists is by turning your back on their message.” He emphasized that people who come to Berkeley to participate in violence will be arrested and prosecuted.

Arreguín also noted the challenges this kind of event poses for the city, particularly because the event was created by an “amorphous group with no specific organizers.”

“I want to reiterate that we will not allow our community to be terrorized by a small band of white supremacists whose ideology of hate is a losing one,” Arreguín said in his statement. “Berkeley is proud of its multiculturalism and diversity, and we will continue to stand united against those who want to divide us.”

Check back for updates.

Contact Chantelle Lee at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ChantelleHLee.

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  • Campus Maximus

    Evil Racist anti-semitic Conservative Trump supporting Republicans hating on and terrorizing Jewish Americans. Why are Republicans so evil? :*(

    Here is a video of some Hardcore racist Republicans saying: “I think there should be another (Jewish) genocide.”
    http://www.facebook.com/VICE/videos/484046581960598/

    College Trump Republicans pass out anti-Semitic Valentine cards. “My love for you burns like 6,000 Jews”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bzFM9xRkUY

    Racist Republican Trump supporters making racist lynching threats against Rep. Al Green.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nW2cCocE3dg

    Evil Racist Right Wing Conservative Trumptard Republican makes death threat to Somali immigrant Muslims. :*(
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlExOAnl0sg

  • M_Young

    The plane! The plane!

  • s randall

    Here’s what the editor of the UVa student paper has to say.

    http://www.cavalierdaily.com/article/2017/08/novak-i-was-wrong-about-the-alt-right

  • woodrose

    “He emphasized that people who come to Berkeley to participate in violence will be arrested and prosecuted.”

    Berkeley police sat back and watched AntiFa and BlackBloc trash the city because they were so outraged Milo was coming to campus. Berkeley police sat back and watched as Trump supporters and AntiFa had fist fights in a public park, for hours.

    Such mayhem, uninterrupted by police, creates the demand for martial law, if local police choose to be helpless.

    The entire country is demanding better performance from the Berkeley police department. Hope we get it.

  • Kurt VanderKoi

    Lessons From Charlottesville (and Berkeley):

    Law enforcement was on hand at the dueling demonstrations on Saturday, decked out in riot gear and looking prepared for the worst. Except they weren’t allowed to do their job. Police on the scene were reported to have been ordered to “not intervene until given command to do so,” according to the ACLU.
    https://twitter.com/ACLUVA/status/896386562484731904

    When police were ordered to disperse the alt-right rally, that act directed the white nationalists into the ANTIFA demonstrators, leading to further street brawls. Police didn’t seem to try to get in between the two groups or suppress the fights.

    Does this sound familiar? It should: During the riot that shut down Milo Yiannopoulos’ planned speech at UC-Berkeley, ANTIFA were able to attack anyone they thought may be an attendee and wreak havoc on town stores. All thanks to a muted police presence.
    http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/02/03/uc-berkeley-police-accused-of-inaction-on-social-media-in-wake-of-protest/

    • Campus Maximus

      For the Racist NAZl White Nationalist Republicans, their perverse idea of 1rst and 2nd amendment “rights” would them to go showing up in the middle of a Jewish neighborhood, just to hold a so-called “peaceful” holocaust denial rally, while racist Republicans brandished their guns.

      If Liberals push back in defense of the Jewish community, then Racist White Nationalist Republicans would then maliciously claim that Liberals are somehow the “intolerant” ones, who are trying to shut down Racist Republican “free speech” of Holocaust Denial provocations, blaming Jews for America’s problems, and their “second amendment rights” to “brandish arms” (in a Jewish neighborhood). Racist White Nationalist Republicans would then say: Liberals and Jews don’t tolerate anyone with “different” political views.

      If Jewish and Liberal outrage turned in to a riot, then racist Republicans would maliciously and glibly say: It is Liberals and Jews are the “violent” ones. Racist Republicans would glibly say: We only shot these Liberal and Jewish “violent thugs” out of “self defense”. :*(

  • NorthernSky

    These “alt-right” losers are such a bunch of pathetic and whiny man-babies. They’ve made bad choices in their own lives, and they can’t take personal responsibility for their own failures, so they lash out at immigrants, or non-white people, or women, or whoever they perceive to be weaker. Underneath it all they’re just a bunch of insecure micropenis-sporting idiots who have failed to realize their own potential in life.

    • Killer Marmot

      Yes, but they are pathetic, whiny losers with the right of assembly.

    • M_Young

      Thank you Dr. Freud.

  • sven holmes

    Cool haha, please keep turning normal, sane, white americans from your platform lefties :) doing our work for us!

  • D.Plorable

    No permit? Politics aside no one has the right to just show up and stage something whenever they like, and this is well-trod ground in the law under the “clear and present danger” doctrine. Many years ago the ACLU made a big splash suing for the right of out-and-out Nazis to march in Skokie Illinois (they just did the same thing in Charlottesville) which is all part of their pose of supporting “free speech”. In fact the only time they come in on these cases is when they can make the most trouble; they never support plaintiffs seeking relief from state discrimination against people the ACLU doesn’t like. Look up the Morgan Hill flag t-shirt case or the Byron CA Muslim prayer in school case and see what I mean.

    The Berkeley politicians bought into all this when they let the thugs tear it up at the Milo event. You can’t tell me that wasn’t a deliberate political decision when they marched right up the middle of Bancroft and then right back down to trash that part of Shattuck (I heard it was $700K just for what they did to the campus). And Cat Brooks is not brimming with credibility either after she went on KFPA the next morning and celebrated how “they only went after corporate businesses”.

    The posters below wishing for a civil environment where people can actually speak are on the right track, but good luck with organizing that because there are some people whose idea of free speech is making everybody they disagree with shut up.

    Interesting that it’s now being reported (DailyCaller web site one source) that the organizer of of the White Nationalists at Charlottesville used to be an Occupy Wall Street activist. It may just be the case that we are getting “played” by some false fronts because none of these groups on either side have any depth to their support–and it has been demonstrated that some of the “Antifa” types are getting paid (several “alt-Right” sites discovered this by answering ads on Craigslist and it was also exposed by the Veritas Video site).

    • zzz

      Some people are in search of something to believe in, they go from one idiotic idea to the next without seeing the obvious contradictions. This is probably youth or a hardwiring issue, just my guess.

      I’ve known people here and there over the years who go from one spiritual nonsense to another and people who do the same with politics, they always seem to be wound wrong.

  • Katie Sheehan

    I would like to advocate for the creation of diversionary event in Berkeley like a PEACE festival or concert with BIG celebrities and musicians volunteering to show up to talk and play. If nothing happens at the hate group event and there is a better event, believe me the media will divert.

    I support the Mayor and I
    do believe that the less press the hate groups receive the better. Every time they
    receive National TV coverage it strengthens their organizations on a
    national level. PR is EVERYTHING and as we all know any PR is good PR
    and the media will be salivating to continue
    covering these violent clashes. National media survives on ratings and
    violence gets high ratings and more advertising dollars. If the hate
    groups show up and there is no violence and no coverage they will be
    bored and leave. If the media shows up and they are just all standing
    around looking ridiculous they too will go home. They want a fight –
    they want to hurt people. We don’t have to be baited by them. We can stage our own AWESOME event for peace and social justice!!

    • Killer Marmot

      There are two hate groups to be concerned with here; the far-right and the Antifa. I doubt that the Antifa will be diverted by a peace festival, which means that a rumble between these two gangs of thugs seems likely.

      And that will garner headlines.

    • There is a peaceful protest, Bay Area Rally Against Hate, planned for that day far from the alt-right rally: august27berkeley.com

  • Killer Marmot

    The constitution guarantees the rights of citizens “peaceably to assemble”, which means that the mayor can not legally prevent this. Should the protest turn violent then the police may (and should) arrest the instigators.

    I expect there will only be a problem if the Antifa show up raring for a fight, which seems entirely likely.

  • Pietro Gambadilegno

    “No Marxism in America”? I can remember when Marxism really did have some influence in America. That was decades ago, before the collapse of the Soviet Union. Now, Marxism is a dead horse, so there is no need to beat it.

    • D.Plorable

      I think racial identity politics and racial allocation policies are kind of like Marxism in drag. Their practical effect is forced allocation and the destruction of rational decision-making. Dig in to the events that produced the catastrophic Ghost Ship fire and you will find how these policies wrecked the professional integrity of the government system. In the military this is known as “unit cohesion”. It applies to sports teams as well, imagine what would happen if a coach started picking and choosing based on racial ID instead of ability.

      OK, now everybody sit down for the national anthem! Or else!

  • Paul

    Interesting how the mayor equates anti-Marxism with hate.

  • markmasonphd

    I disagree with the opinions of the Alt-Right but the major of Berkeley has no power to suppress opinions. The rally should proceed because the organizers have a right to free speech, but I will be there, among others, to express my opposition to their racist, corporate-fascist political positions. I will be there and I will expect Antifa to provide protection for counter-protests.

    • lspanker

      Antifa isn’t providing “protection” for anyone. They are the cause of this problem in the first place because they instigated violence at earlier peaceful demonstrations then marched around with a banner declaring THIS IS WAR. In other words, they challenged other groups to a fight… and now they got what they asked for.

      The best way to handle this AND take the wind out of the sails of extremists on BOTH sides is to announce that peaceful demonstration is welcome but violence is not. Have a heavy and conspicuous police presence, confiscate weapons, separate demonstrators from any counter-demonstrators, and give on-site police commanders the authority to use force against instigators on either side if any violence breaks out. That’s the way it should have been handled to begin with, instead of that idiotic Peter Griffin lookalike of a mayor giving Antifa a free pass to commit mayhem the first time around…

      • D.Plorable

        There are specific statutes against wearing masks to facilitate criminal behavior and throwing “explosive devices”–the laws regarding the latter were significantly strengthened after 9/11 and the California statues specifically identifies “M-80s” and other analogous devices. It’s a felony with mandatory jail sentences; the police really blew it the last time by letting them get away with this one. Bust a few from the front ranks right away and see how fast the thugettes find something else to do.

        But alas, I fear the worst.

        • Killer Marmot

          I agree. The police must enforce the law, regardless of who is breaking it. That will bring some of these thugs back to reality.

  • Grandpa Dino

    This is hilarious! The Big Brothers in the so-called cradle of ‘Free Speech’ will tell you what to believe, when to believe it and how to believe it! We love Big Brother!

    Phooey!

  • Mercator

    The mayor is now finally coming out as a communist. Interesting that any criticism targeting marxism or communism now instantly regarded as coming from the “alth-right”

    • lspanker

      The lefties in their usual state of cognitive dissonance refuse to acknowledge that they were the cause of the problem in the first place.

    • Pietro Gambadilegno

      That’s because you have to be way out on the fringe to think that Marxism is a real threat anywhere this side of Venezuela.

    • NorthernSky

      I hate to break it to you, but every decent american from all walks of life, and all political affiliations, see you guys as a bunch of pathetic nazi sympathizers.

      • Mercator

        When you are not able to defend your opinion with anything else besides logical fallacies and ad hominem attacks you know you’re lost.