Right-wing protesters attack Revolution Books 3 times in 2 days after Milo Yiannopoulos’ appearance at UC Berkeley

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Mark Unger/Staff

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Several right-wing protesters attacked Revolution Books at least three times at its 2444 Durant Ave. location over the course of two days.

Although campus publication the Berkeley Patriot withdrew its support of the four-day “Free Speech Week” event it was co-hosting with controversial conservative author Milo Yiannopoulos, Yiannopoulos still made a brief campus appearance Sunday, gathering a crowd of about 50 supporters and hundreds of protesters. After Yiannopoulos’ talk, about 40 right-wing protesters marched down Telegraph and Durant avenues and surrounded Revolution Books, a well-known local communist bookstore, and began banging on the windows.

The right-wing protesters, many of whom wore “Make America Great Again” hats, allegedly chanted phrases such as, “Die commie scum” and yelled rape threats against store employees and customers, according to several Revolution Books supporters and employees present during the incident. The building’s security officers struggled to remove the protesters from the premises, but police officers intervened and were able to escort protesters away from the building.

“These fascists were yelling very crude things at us,” said Revolution Books manager Reiko Redmonde. “They represent the opposite of what the store is.”

A group of about six right-wing protesters returned to the bookstore Sunday afternoon, refusing to leave when employees asked them to exit the store, as seen in a Youtube video of the incident. Employees pushed protesters, who were yelling “You commies are murderers,” out of the doors. One right-wing protester elbowed a supporter of the store in the face in the midst of the scuffle.

Almira Tanner, a volunteer at the Berkeley Animal Rights Center, said an employee from Revolution Books went to the center, which is in the same building, to ask for help to contain the protesters. About 20 volunteers from the Animal Rights Center stood around the entrance of the bookstore for about 15 minutes until security officers were able to convince the right-wing protesters to leave.

Some of the right-wing protesters livestreamed or filmed the protest. Antonio Foreman — a Trump supporter and member of the Oath Keepers, a far-right anti-government organization — was filmed during the altercation in a livestream.

“That’s how we expose communists in this country,” Foreman said in the video when he left the store. “We go right into their bookstores. We expose them at all costs.”

On Monday, bookstore volunteers saw right-wing protesters announce on a livestream that they would be returning to the store that day, according to Raphael Kadaris, a member of Refuse Fascism and a supporter of Revolution Books. Kadaris said bookstore volunteers and supporters, as well as members of the Animal Rights Center, stood in front of the store to block about seven protesters from entering.

“We held hands and stood in front of (Revolution Books’) business just as a peaceful form of protest, and we remained silent while (the protesters) were shouting rude statements,” said campus junior Cassie King, a volunteer at the Animal Rights Center.

Right-wing protesters yelled insults, but after about 10 minutes, the building’s security officers escorted them away from the store’s entrance, Kadaris said.

BPD spokesperson Officer Byron White said BPD is not pursuing an investigation into these incidents because Revolution Books has not filed an official complaint. Redmonde said Revolution Books hasn’t filed a complaint because the employees “don’t call the cops.”

Redmonde said she felt the protesters attacked the store because the store is “everything the ‘alt-right’ doesn’t like,” referencing the store’s African American history and culture section as an example.

“(The) targeting of Revolution Books brings to mind Nazi book-burning,” Kadaris said. “It’s very ominous.”

Refuse Fascism member Sunsara Taylor, who volunteers at the Revolution Books location in New York and was present at the Berkeley location during the altercations, said the store has received “a flood of hateful phone calls” since the attacks.

Taylor emphasized that the bookstore will not close, despite threats and intimidation.

Redmonde said, however, that the store has also received much support from the community in the face of these incidents. She added that many students have been coming into the store to buy books and that local authors and community members have released statements in support of the store.

“A community is uniting very broadly, not only against these attacks, but against the fascism in the White House,” Redmonde said.

Jason Bouatavanh, an employee at the nearby SoDoI Coffee Tasting House, said he was disappointed in the lack of security presence in the mall in light of UC Berkeley spending $800,000 on security for the now-canceled Free Speech Week. He also said he found it “worrisome” because he was unsure if the right-wing protesters would go to his workplace next.

Revolution Books held an emergency press conference and speakout called “You Will Not Shut Down Revolution Books! Berkeley Will Be A Fascist Free Zone!” on Tuesday evening. Speakers from Refuse Fascism, the Animal Rights Center, the Freedom Socialist Party, Punks for Progress and Copwatch all expressed support for the store in the face of the attacks.

Reverend Aaron, co-founder of Punks for Progress, who was in the store during the attack, began crying at the conference when he recounted the incident.

“I was terrified,” Aaron said at the conference. “I’m traumatized by this experience.”

Staff writer Cade Johnson contributed to this report.

Contact Hannah Piette at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @Hannah_PietteDC.

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  • agnosic1

    https://youtu.be/wl-kt6lrMlE

    The guy in the green shirt doesn’t seem threatening. Gets kicked out of the bookstore and stands outside, begging to “buy a communist book, so he can be re-educated.” At one point while he’s been pushed he says “hands up don’t shoot!”

  • Prof. Bacchus

    Found the vid that shows this article is a lie.

    https://youtu.be/wl-kt6lrMlE

  • Danielle Klisiewicz

    Lets take a moment to remember that refuse fascism is trying to overthrow the government thus creating a police state and bringing a nightmare of violence, hatred, and destrusction on everyone in America! PAID DOMESTIC TERRORISTS, no matter what mask they choose to fashion out of a ski hat, bandana or ratty old tshirt tied around their heads, or how they choose to “identify”.

  • D.Plorable

    “Attacked” is a bit of an overstatement, but this is unbelievably stupid and accomplishes nothing. Try a silent protest with placards documenting how many millions died under Stalin and Mao. Is everybody on (prescription and/or other) drugs these days?

    But recognize that neither side of these extremes have significant numbers. I would be concerned with some idiot staging some kind of provocation though.

    • Danielle Klisiewicz

      yes. everyone is on opioids.

  • Tizzie Lish

    Many Berkeley-based online communities where people with actual ties to Berkeley get many comments, and many of such comments are clearly from out of towners because the regulars know all the names used by the regulars, keep getting posts that say the left is the problem, that the right is not wrong in recent protests/rallies/scuffles. The right nutters assaulted with impunity until Berkeley and UC banned their chosen weapons (leaded sticks, shields, mace, pepper spray, etc. . ). And these right nut jobs claim they are demonstrating FOR free speech and they claim the left and allegedly leftie UC is denying the right their free speech.

    But it is okay for these dirtbags to invade a private business — and the first amendment does not guarantee free speech in a business, btw — and violate the bookstore’s freedom to stand for communism or whatever else they may stand for. Can any of the right neanderthals recently invading Berkeley see their own hypocrisy: they whine about their free speech right but suppress it wherever they can when they disagree with others. Sheesh.

  • ESPM360

    i do not recall Reiko Redmonde being upset after Antifa caused property damage earlier this year to other stores and shops. The left cannot take any form of push back. Cowards.

    • Tizzie Lish

      When provacateurs disguise their identity, with masks or assumed identities as Amber cummings does, no one knows who did property damage earlier this year to stores and shops. The right look like cowards to me, bullying a small bookstore and trespassing to do so.

      • California Defender

        You call the people who don’t wear masks cowards? And those who do are just those darn Amish kids at it again? Leftist logic, if there is such a thing.

        But I do agree with you that banging on the windows of a small leftist bookstore is not a good idea and counter to the high principles of the right. Let those kids work out their daddy issues in a “revolutionary” bookstore and then laugh about it when they’re adults.

        Berkeley Grad 1: Hey, remember when we sat in that leftist bookstore reading communist propaganda from the 50’s while wearing those ridiculous berets?

        Berkeley Grad 2: God, we smoked a lot of pot in there! Wish I had studied more.

        Berkeley Grad 1: Me too. Well, break’s over. Hand me that spatula…

  • BlackConservative

    Lol, Nazi Book burning. Now that is rich when we have everything at the tips of our fingers these days.

  • Jacob

    “Attacked.” Good lord writer, open a dictionary.

    Dystopian embellishment that you would never have the guts to pull on lefties.

    • C Bierbauer78

      So how is this an example of Alt-Reich demanding “Free Speech”. Brainless little bigots, the lot of them, pedophiles too!

  • Killer Marmot

    Here’s a video of the event on Monday:

    The anti-communists were obnoxious but not violent.

  • roccolore

    Left-wingers can surely dish it out but not take it.

    • flashsteve

      I don’t know. Kudos to them for physically removing the protesters from the premises. Legally, a risky strategy, but at least they had some cajones.

      • Killer Marmot

        Once the anti-communists were told to go then they were legally trespassing. Reasonable force is allowed to remove them, but you risk legal problems if you cross the line over to “unreasonable force.”

        • Tizzie Lish

          The First Amendment gives us free speech before our government. Free speech does not follow anyone into a private enterprise, including online websites, btw. I suppose this website, run by an org at a public university has to honor free speech but even the DailyCal moderates comments.

          Who’s the snowflakes? The righties rant about their free speech right disingenously and then seek to suppress the speech of staffers at Revolution.

          • Killer Marmot

            Do you have anything to say about my comment, or do you just say things at random?

      • roccolore

        Liberals are the cowards who riot and loot to prevent people from speaking.

      • BerkeleyMews

        You are buying into the Left’s false narrative of what happened.

  • Killer Marmot

    So no police report. That doesn’t help matters.

    Can someone provide a link to a video of this incident? I couldn’t find one on youtube,

    • roccolore

      Funny how these Communists hate cops, then beg for police to help them when things go wrong.

      • Nunya Beeswax

        You really love your generalizations.

        • roccolore

          I guess you never heard of the Commies’ defense of Wesley Cook and Joanne Chesimard.

          • Nunya Beeswax

            It’s rather pathetic that you think that’s relevant. To you, anyone to the left of Ann Coulter is simultaneously a Democrat, a Fascist, a Communist, and an Anarchist. Never mind, of course, that most of those things are incompatible with each other; they’re all just facets of the same boogeyman to you.

            I’m sorry that you have difficulty realizing how simple-minded you’re being, but I suppose that goes with being simple-minded.

  • lspanker

    If some of them banged on windows and made threats, it was definitely wrong, and they should be held accountable for it. However, I would like to see some independent confirmation first, given Ms. Redmonde does not have a history as a credible witness.

    • California Defender

      True.

      But we have to remember that in their twisted minds, someone banging on the windows of “a well-known local communist bookstore” is SO MUCH worse than those same communists throwing bricks through windows, lighting buildings on fire, smashing cars with bats…

    • agnosic1