Organizer of Berkeley anti-Marxist rally plans return during Free Speech Week

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Update 09/06/2017: This article has been updated with additional information about Amber Cummings and Free Speech Week.

Amber Cummings, organizer of the “No to Marxism in America” rally that was canceled the Friday before Aug. 27’s far-right rallies and counterprotests, is holding another rally during Milo Yiannopoulos’s Free Speech Week at UC Berkeley.

The event, called “Step on Marxism in America, No to Antifa Violence,” is scheduled on Facebook for Sept. 24, the first day of Yiannopoulos’s Free Speech Week, in Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park. On Aug. 27, thousands gathered in Civic Center Park as far-right activists and counterprotesters clashed, ending in 13 arrests. Cummings had originally scheduled her rally for that same day, but she canceled two days before in anticipation of violence.

In the event description, Cummings asked attendees to bring “Soviet Union flags” and stomp on them as a protest against “Marxist terrorists” in Berkeley. Cummings went on to label Antifa and left-wing activist group By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN, as terrorist groups, warning attendees that Antifa and BAMN could attend and cause violence.

“Berkeley is harboring Marxist Terrorists and we must speak out and protest this. … Let’s stand up to Marxism by stomping on the vile Soviet flag and show our destain (sic) for communism in America,” Cummings wrote, in the Facebook event description. “Please just stomping, no burning of flags please. Let’s be lawful and not act like the animals in Antifa and BAMN.”

According to Cummings, she did not want violence at her rally, as she had stated several times before her previous rally, and groups such as neo-Nazis, the KKK and Antifa are not allowed. The event, Cummings wrote, is open to all races, genders and sexualities.

As first reported by Berkeleyside, Cummings returned unannounced to Civic Center Park on Sept. 2 to talk about free speech via a Facebook livestream. Alone in the park, Cummings claimed that Antifa is attempting to overthrow the government and accused them of terrorizing Berkeley residents during the Aug. 27 rally.

In a Facebook message, Cummings said she scheduled her event during Yiannopoulos’s Free Speech Week to show that not everyone in the LGBTQ community is liberal, as Yiannopoulos is a prominent gay conservative.

“I think a trans woman having a separate event and and a gay male shows that its (sic) a myth that everyone in the LGBT is leftist and we are accepted among the conservatives,” Cummings wrote.

After Yiannopoulos’s first scheduled campus event was canceled in the wake of fiery protests, Yiannopoulos vowed to return to Berkeley for a “free speech week,” now being sponsored by a conservative campus newspaper, the Berkeley Patriot. Free Speech Week is scheduled for Sept. 24-27, with Ann Coulter set to join Yiannopoulos to speak on campus.

Ashley Wong is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @wongalum.