Berkeley mayor on Sunday rally: ‘It went as well as it could have’

Xiaoye Yan/File

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Sunday’s rally in Downtown Berkeley featured clashes between “alt-right” ralliers and counterprotesters, but some activists and residents still consider it to have been a largely “peaceful” and “successful” event.

The “No to Marxism in America” protest was set to take place in Berkeley on Sunday, but it was canceled last week by organizer Amber Cummings. Despite its cancellation, some ralliers still attended, inciting a response from a horde of counterprotesters.

Berkeley Unified School District teacher and By Any Means Necessary organizer Yvette Felarca summarized the events in Berkeley as a “resounding success,” calling the weekend in the Bay Area a “resounding defeat” for the “alt-right.”

“It was a collective, unified movement where thousands of people made clear that any white supremacists or fascists (were) going to be sent packing,” Felarca said.

Berkeley Police Department escorted several ralliers from situations where they were outnumbered. BPD also organized police barriers around Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, later using pepper spray and arresting protesters for a variety of violations when fights broke out.

Mayor Jesse Arreguín said he was “really proud of Berkeley.” According to Arreguín, a great deal of preparation from local police and fire departments went into preventing violence, including the physical separation of large groups and the implementation of rules to prohibit the use of weapons and masks.

According to Arreguín, the rallies featured “families, children (and) people of all backgrounds that came out to stand against hate.”

Felarca added that she thought the “alt-right” and “fascist” protesters from Saturday’s rallies in San Francisco came to Berkeley on Sunday as a “last-ditch effort” when their planned events dwindled into a press conference.

On Sunday, masked protesters also handed out flyers declaring another rally for Nov. 4. The flyer read, “This nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!”

Police Review Commissioner Andrea Prichett, a founding member of activist group Berkeley Copwatch, said Berkeley put out a clear message denouncing white supremacy. Prichett also added, however, that Berkeley would still have to address racism in its own communities, referring to issues of racial profiling in the police force and privileging of white and wealthy individuals.

“We’re maturing as a movement against white supremacy,” Prichett said. “That means we’re going to struggle about tactics.”

Naweed Tahmas, external vice president of the Berkeley College Republicans, condemned what he described as police passivity against “leftist criminals.”

“Berkeley police reaffirmed yesterday that lawlessness and mob violence will go unpunished,” Tahmas said in an email. “Ordinary citizens and students who make Berkeley their home are in fear of their lives because the police, City Council, and Mayor routinely abdicate their responsibility to keep the public safe.”

According to Arreguín, the key difference between the rallies of San Francisco and Berkeley was the presence of Antifa and Black Bloc, who he said were the small number of individuals intent on committing violence. He added that these groups do not speak for the people of Berkeley and will be held accountable.

“Overall, it went as well as it could have,” Arreguín said.

Contact Ani Vahradyan at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @anivahrad.

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  • an6thing NOW!

    Yvette Felarca…





  • FreedomFan

    Arreguin protects the violent Antifa thugs because they are his Democrat buddies.
    That’s right, Arreguin is an actual member of the Antifa group BAMN on Facebook. BAMN is short for “By Any Means Necessary” which promotes violence to accomplish it’s objective of a marxist revolution.

    But perhaps he only joined BAMN to appeal politically to Berkeley’s thousands of marxist nuts, in the same way that Barack Obama joined Jeremiah Wright’s cult of whitey hatred to appeal to Chicago racists.

  • Pietro Gambadilegno

    The author of this article does not know where Felarca fits into the political spectrum. She is allied with black bloc and antifa, and she consistently promotes violence.

    You are promoting here false spin on the event when you quote her:

    “It was a collective, unified movement where thousands of people made
    clear that any white supremacists or fascists (were) going to be sent
    packing,” Felarca said.

    In reality, thousands of people were there to protest non-violently – and were not unified with Felarca and others who were there to protest violently.

  • FreedomFan

    The number, of prominent Leftists at Berkeley and elsewhere, now defending use of violence to promote their political agenda makes it clear that we are in the early stages of a civil war. This will escalate rapidly once they excuse their mob for an innocent person’s death.

  • John Grey

    Well that Mayor is a liar. He said no masks. The photo shows hooded and masked punks.

  • Rollie

    A question for the mayor: If you’d been shouted down, assaulted for merely wearing a red cap, or sent to the hospital, would you still say that the event “…went as well as it could have”? I daresy that you wouldn’t, so try seeing things from a non-political perspective, for once.

    Have the guts to escape your binary thinking, Arreguín, and your conviction that one side being detestable makes the other side virtuous, or at least not explicitly blameworthy. Look, I get the basic sentiment. Supporters of the odious Trump get no joy from me, and I too would rather see them slink away–IF that happens by their own choice, not by being forced to. But the genuinely fascist Antifa and its ilk deserve to be condemned by name, by you (the City’s leader), and to be described for the violent gang that they are. (Take note that Antifa itself will not deny being violent. In this way, they are more forthright than you are.) Silliest of all, you describe the black bloc as a “small number of individuals..”, so do you realize that by this description, you are admitting that your police were overwhelmed by, and gave control of the park to, a small number of individuals? Hundreds of police can’t keep a “small number” of thugs from breaking lines and bloodying demonstrators?

    • Mark

      The mayors comments regarding the multiple riots he hosted are some of most ridiculous political relations I have,ever seen. Wich leads me to believe he is connected to the violent left.

  • 11a5f0041b85 42aaac71fb3f45cc6

    Yvette Felarca, leader of BAMN and public school teacher who is out of bond for inciting a riot and assaulting people in Sacramento was caught on video assaulting Trump supporters 08-27-17. Have courage to report on BAMN and Felarca!!!!

  • Klevin Hagar

    I would actually like to see the FBI step in on this one. The mayor is friends with Yvette Falarco, who was arrested for assault at her last mobbing. She’s got away with this in the past after being put on administrative leave from her teaching position.

    Basically, if you don’t have the same views as Falarco, you’re a racist/facist and she’s going to beat you down.

    • Pietro Gambadilegno

      The mayor is not friends with Felarca. When he condemns violence, that includes condemning the violence that Felarca provokes.

      You can’t even spell her name. How reliable are your opinions?

  • Dave Doleshal

    I only arrived at this Sunday event at about 1:45 PM, and apparently missed most of the “excitement” that went on earlier in the day. I cannot comment on events that happened before I arrived and which I did not actually see. However, from what I saw there the rest of the day, it seems like the police and the crowd did handle things well. Despite reports the police somehow had “retreated,” or refused to intervene, at least from what I saw, this is not what happened. They did tend to stay mostly on the sidewalks, at the edges of the park, or across the street, but they still seemed to be keeping a close watch on what was going on and responded on an “as needed” basis. I only saw two “scuffles.” One was simply two people yelling loudly at each other (I could not tell what they were yelling about). The second did involve two people physically striking each other. In both instances, the police did respond quickly, with a group of 8-9 officers being on the spot within 10-15 seconds, getting between the contending parties, separating them, actively trying to discern whether any illegal or dangerous activity was going on, and responding accordingly. Although some of the published stories seem to describe this event as if it was an all-day rumble involving hundreds of people, that is not what I saw. Incidents of violence, all of them regrettable, were few in number, were limited to very brief incidents involving only a small number of people. The police did seem to be arresting anyone who they saw instigating violence, regardless of “which side” they supposedly represented – which seems to me to have been the correct course of action. Whether they were alt.right, alt-left, or answer to some other label, if they instigated violence against someone else, they should have been arrested and face the consequences of whatever it was they actually did. Anyone who feels they need to resort to violence to advance their own political message is merely discrediting whatever it is they are trying to say. The political sympathies of the offenders does not justify nor excuse their use of violence.

  • TwoStrayCats

    “As well as it could have?” Really? Are the administration and police of Berkeley in collusion with Ms. Felarca and her… “organization?”

  • roccolore

    The mayor is a Mexican supremacist pig.

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  • FreedomFan

    Out of hundreds of violent antifa fascist thugs, police only arrested 13.
    So it went as well as could be expected, according to the mayor.