Black-clad anarchists on Sunday stormed into what had been a largely peaceful Berkeley protest against hate and attacked at least five people, including the leader of a politically conservative group who canceled an event a day earlier in San Francisco amid fears of violence.
The group of more than 100 hooded protesters, with shields emblazoned with the words “no hate” and waving a flag identifying themselves as anarchists, busted through police lines, avoiding security checks by officers to take away possible weapons. Then the anarchists blended with a crowd of 2,000 largely peaceful protesters who turned up to demonstrate in a “Rally Against Hate” opposed to a much smaller gathering of right-wing protesters.
Berkeley police chief Andrew Greenwood defended how police handled the protest, saying they made a strategic decision to let the anarchists enter to avoid more violence. Greenwood said “the potential use of force became very problematic” given the thousands of peaceful protesters in the park. Once anarchists arrived, it was clear there would not be dueling protests between left and right so he ordered his officers out of the park and allowed the anarchists to march in. There was “no need for a confrontation over a grass patch,” Greenwood said.
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With files from the Associated Press
Devin Katayama, reporter covering the East Bay for KQED News; he covered the Berkeley rally on Sunday; he tweets @RadioDevin
Maria Haberfeld, Professor of Police Science, in the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City