House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi criticized Antifa’s presence at Sunday’s “alt-right” rally in a statement Tuesday.
Pelosi is among many politicians — including Congresswoman Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín — who have denounced violence at Berkeley protests.
“The violent actions of people calling themselves Antifa in Berkeley this weekend deserve unequivocal condemnation, and the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted,” Pelosi said in her statement.
Jack Citrin, campus professor of political science, said in an email he “unequivocally” supports Pelosi’s statement, referring to it as a “necessary and courageous” statement of values.
“Actions speak louder than words,” said Naweed Tahmas, Berkeley College Republicans external vice president, in an email. “If Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi wants to prove she is serious, she should twist the arm of the Mayor and the new Chancellor to protect conservative students from Antifa’s leftist thuggery in Berkeley and on campus.”
ASUC Senator Juniperangelica Cordova said although groups such as Antifa use distinct protesting tactics, “the political climate is intensifying what protecting ourselves may look like.” Cordova added that she does not condone fighting violence with violence, but nonviolent, moderate debates are not always effective enough to stop Nazis and protect the lives of marginalized communities.
ASUC Senator Sankalp Aggarwal said he agreed with the sentiment of Pelosi’s statement, but he added that Pelosi should have also condemned “alt-right” members for the violence incited at Sunday’s demonstration.
Regarding demonstrations such as Sunday’s “alt-right” rally, ASUC Senator Nuha Khalfay said the safety of the students should be a top priority for campus administration, adding that increased police presence may not be the answer.
According to BPD spokesperson Officer Jennifer Coats, BPD is currently conducting follow-up investigations regarding Sunday’s rally to identify and arrest anyone “responsible for a violent incident.”
Dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy Henry Brady deemed Antifa’s actions “unacceptable,” adding that wherever Antifa appears, violence seems to occur. Brady also condemned the “alt-right” and referenced the events in Charlottesville, which “horrified and appalled” him.
“We have to condemn violence when we see it,” Brady said. “I think Pelosi has done that with her statement.”