Live blog: Thousands come out against racism; far right a no-show

Demonstrators at Bay Area Rally Against Hate in Berkeley on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017. Photo: Melati Citrawireja

9 p.m. Berkeley Police statement: BPD said 13 arrests were made Sunday in Berkeley on suspicion of a variety of violations, including assault with a deadly weapon, felony assault and violations of the Berkeley Municipal Code. In a Nixle alert sent out around 8:20 p.m., BPD spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats reported that one police officer was injured during an arrest and several officers were struck with paint. Six people were injured and treated by paramedics. Two of those individuals were taken to local hospitals for treatment.

Arrest information follows, and all defendants are innocent until proven guilty: Yesenia Mendez, 22, city of residence unknown — assault with a deadly weapon, resisting arrest, unlawfully wearing a mask; Sean Dougan, 47, of Portland, Oregon — battery, vandalism, incitement to riot; Rachel Moore, 40, of Oakland — battery causing serious bodily injury; Emily Gillespie, 24, of Berkeley — battery; Joshua Phillips, 36, of Oakland — resisting arrest and participation in a riot; Sean Hines, 20, of Santa Rosa — resisting arrest and violating security rules for city buildings; Kristopher Wyrick, 39, of Alpine — unlawfully fighting or challenging someone to a fight in a public place; James Dominic, 23, of Oakland — conspiracy to commit a crime; and Harlan Pankau, 38, of Jamul (San Diego) — public intoxication. Four others were arrested solely on municipal code violations related to rules for parks and city building: Levi Smith, 32, of Sparks, Nevada; Brittany Moorman, 26, of Oakland; Mark Misohink, 23, of Berkeley; and Seth Vasquez, 25, of Berkeley.

Booking photographs, from left to right: Yesenia Mendez, Rachel Moore, Emily Gillespie; Joshua Phillips, Sean Hines, Kristopher Wyrick, James Dominic; Harlan Pankau, Levi Smith, Brittany Moorman, Seth Vasquez. Photographs for Sean Dougan and Mark Misohink were not available. Source: Alameda County sheriff’s office
Demonstrators at Bay Area Rally Against Hate in Berkeley on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017. Photo: Melati Citrawireja

LIVE BLOG… 

5 p.m. Sunday’s demonstrations are over. We are ending our live blog. Watch out for our wrap-up story and wonderful photographs of the day.

3:30 p.m. The demonstrations appear to be winding down. The crowd size in Civic Center Park has diminished, and many have left the area, according to a BPD Nixle alert put out at 3:26 p.m. UCPD reports that Crescent lawn is “clear of activity.” Most roadways are now open but there is heavy pedestrian traffic in the downtown area. Our reporters at Ohlone Park report that the gathering is winding down too.


3 p.m. The counter demonstrators are now in Ohlone Park having marched from Civic Center Park. The mood has become celebratory. Berkeley’s Pastor Michael McBride was among those addressing the crowd from a truck. Berkeley’s Kamau Bell was also on the truck and has addressed the gathering.

Video of BPD spokesperson Officer Jennifer Coats, below, by Berkeleyside’s Emilie Raguso:

2:35 p.m. Berkeley Police report in a Nixle alert that demonstrators are marching north on MLK Way.

2:06 p.m. Watch live video of the scene at Civic Center Park, by Berkeleyside’s Emilie Raguso.

There have been reports of tear gas. Lt. Kevin Schofield of the Berkeley Police said BPD used smoke to break up a fight, but they have not used tear gas.


At least one right-wing pro-Trump demonstrator was attacked in Civic Center Park, according to Berkeleyside reporter Natalie Orenstein. The man was set upon by a large group of people who pushed him to the ground. The man was bleeding, said Orenstein. Then police intervened.

A photographer working for Berkeleyside got pepper spray in his eyes.

Anti-racism demonstrators at Civic Center Park Sunday afternoon. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Patriot’s Prayer founder Joey Gibson is detained around 1:50 p.m. in Berkeley. Photo: Pete Rosos

Around 1:50 p.m. Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson, organizer of the cancelled Aug. 26 rally in Crissy Field in San Francisco, was led off by police near the Berkeley Police station.

The demonstration that took place on Crescent lawn Sunday morning has disbanded. Many who took part moved to Civic Center Park, according to Chris Polydoroff, who is on the ground for Berkeleyside.

Smoke used during the demonstration Sunday. BPD says they used smoke not tear gas to break up a fight. Photo: Pete Rosos

1:40 p.m. Anti-hate protesters, including 100-200 black-clad antifa demonstrators wearing masks and bandanas, have now flooded into the park after police appeared to make a tactical decision to abandon their effort to keep park closed. Police are now massed in front of the Veterans building on Center Street. The so-called “zone of separation” is not manned, said Berkeleyside’s Knobel who added he personally “cannot see single pro-Trump supporter” in the park area.


Protesters are chanting “No KKK no fascist USA,” among other things. One pro-Trump supporter was chased down the street by demonstrators wearing black (see our tweeted video below).

A BPD Nixle alert issued at 1:50 p.m. reports 10 arrests and several fights breaking out.

Black-clad protesters at Civic Center Park in Berkeley Sunday around 2 p.m. Photo: Pete Rosos
An interfaith group marched from First Church on Channing Way to Civic Center Park. Photo: First Church
Antifa demonstrators arrive by the hundreds on MLK Way in Berkeley around 1 p.m. Photo: Emilie Raguso

1 p.m. A large contingent of antifa demonstrators has arrived on MLK Way and are massing in front of Old City Hall but do not look like they are attempting to enter the park, according to Berkeleyside’s Natalie Orenstein. They are dressed all in black and many are carrying signs reading “Cops and Klan go hand in hand.” Police are standing in front of the barricades, essentially cordoning off the park, according to Berkeleyside’s Lance Knobel.

BPD estimate the crowd numbers 4,000 people, reported on a Nixle alert shortly after 1 p.m. The park itself is mostly empty as protesters converge around it. Conservative and right-wing demonstrators in Civic Center Park are vastly outnumbered by those who say they are protesting hate and white nationalism. Orenstein estimates there are fewer than 20 of them, just minutes before the “No to Marxism in America” rally was supposed to start. Every time someone with a MAGA hat or pro-Trump cape is spotted, he or she is surrounded and told “Nazis go home,” said Orenstein. Then they are often chased out of the park. One sign reads, “Avenge Charlottesville. Protect our communities.”

One woman, a former Air Force nurse who traveled up from Los Angeles, and who said she was a Trump supporter, told Berkeleyside’s Rauch she did not feel safe identifying her political beliefs. When asked if she felt safe, she said: “No. That’s why I’m not wearing my Trump gear.” The woman, who asked not to be identified, said she came to the rally to support other Trump supporters. She did not come to spew hate. She does not believe President Trump is a supporter of the KKK either.
“We’re not against Jews, we’re not against Muslims,” she said. The woman said there are good and bad people on the right and the left.

Several hundred anti-hate demonstrators have arrived at Civic Center Park after marching from Ohlone Park, according to Berkeleyside contributor Melati Citrawireja.

There are two helicopters and at least one drone over the park.

At 1:22 p.m. UCPD put out a Nixle alert saying “tensions were escalating” at Civic Center Park and “people should leave immediately.”

Anti-hate demonstrators who marched from Ohlone Park arrive at Civic Center Park around 1 p.m. Photo: Melati Citrawireja
The scene outside Old City Hall around 1:20 p.m. Photo: Lance Knobel

Video, below, by Sarah Baughn:

12:45 p.m. Civic Center Park: Berkeley Police Department spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats reports that there have been seven arrests, most for violation of regulations at Civic Center Park.

Civic Center Park around noon. Photo: Pete Rosos

12 noon Civic Center Park: People are beginning to converge at Civic Center Park. Close to noon, BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) called on people to head to the park to “shut down fascists.” And they have responded: BAMN and progressive protesters are arriving in their hundreds, Berkeleyside’s Lance Knobel reports, including Black Lives Matter supporters. Tensions are rising. Left-wing protesters far outweigh the far-right demonstrators at this point, by about 20 to one said Knobel.

The police response to this rally is diametrically different than the other rallies that have taken place in Berkeley this year, according to Knobel, who is in Civic Center Park. Instead of standing on the perimeter of the park, police are mingling with the demonstrators and are stepping in at even the slightest hint of an altercation. The police stand back when discussions are happening, but as soon as there is a hint of tension, or a push, or a slap, police are reacting instantly by hauling people away.

Knobel saw police take away a protester who slapped down the iPhone of a person taking a video, as well as one who pushed another.

Police set up large orange barricades in the park to separate the “sides,” but there have proved useless, said Knobel. Everyone is on one side of the barricades, the side near the fountain and City Hall.

There’s a long line of people waiting to be allowed by authorities to get into Civic Center Park.

Tensions at Civic Center Park around noon. Photo: Pete Rosos
Police make an arrest near Civic Center Park around noon. Photo: Pete Rosos

People are chanting, “Nazi scum off our streets, Nazi scum off our streets,” according to Berkeleyside contributing writer Kate Rauch.

Dan, a Trump supporter from San Diego drove up to Berkeley with a small group of like-minded friends. His main message is,”I want to come out here and express my free-speech rights without being attacked,” he told Rauch. He said he’s here to stand for free speech. “I love my country and I’m scared of losing it. “The big threat he says are the anti racists. They’re going to take our free speech away.” He described today so far as “peaceful” and said he’s happy about this.

11:40 a.m. Oxford Street: A University of California Riverside police officer estimates there are about 3,000 people gathered in the street along Oxford. Nearly all of the people chose to gather outside the barricades erected around West Crescent. The officer, who did not want to be named, said she has seen officers from nine University of California campuses present this morning. Meanwhile, Berkeleyside contributing photographer David Yee reports that several hundred people are gathered at Hearst and California, presumably for the planned march from Ohlone Park to Civic Center Park.

Watch our Facebook Live footage of speeches being made near Crescent lawn, shot by Berkeleyside reporter Natalie Orenstein.

Crescent lawn around 11:35 a.m. Protesters, estimated to number 3,000, are keeping out of the barricaded areas. Photo: Chris Polydoroff
Outside the (closed) Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive Sunday at around 11 a.m., anti-hate demonstrators hold up signs. Photo: Pete Rosos

11:30 a.m. Civic Center Park: So far, very few right-wing demonstrators have made themselves known in Berkeley, although the main right-wing protest was only meant to start at 1 p.m. Berkeleyside’s Lance Knobel says no more than ten clear Trump supporters have shown up. There are some conversations happening with people from both sides. But it is generally quiet. Knobel saw two people being detained, and handcuffed, by police officers, possibly for wearing masks.

Arthur Schaper, a well-known Trump supporter and conservative activist from southern California, talks at Civic Center Park around 11 a.m. Photo: Pete Rosos

11 a.m. Crescent lawn: Berkeleyside’s Emilie Raguso estimates there are thousands of people gathered on and around Oxford Street, north of Addison to University. Most are not in Crescent lawn which is barricaded. Arezu Moshirian hugged police officers to thank them for being there in “a non-menacing way.” Center Street and Allston Way are closed between Milvia Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way and will likely be closed all day. See a 11:18 a.m. Nixle alert about street closures from BPD.

Arezu Moshirian hugs a police officer at Crescent lawn at 10:55 a.m. Sunday. “I’m here for the children. I appreciate the police being here in a non-menacing way,” she said. Photo: Emilie Raguso
University of California police officers stand on Center Street near the corner of Oxford St. Sunday morning. UC has brought in officers from far flung campuses, including UCSF and UC Irvine. Photo: by Chris Polydoroff

10:50 a.m. Allston Way: Members of BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) were walking past the main post office on Allston Way with anti-Trump and anti-hate signs.

BAMN supporter carry signs in front of the central post office on Allston Way. Photo: Pete Rosos
BAMN supporter carry signs in front of the central post office on Allston Way. Photo: Pete Rosos
Civic Center Park around 10:20 a.m. Sunday. Photo: Lance Knobel

10:30 a.m. At Civic Center police out-number everyone else by about 10 to one, reports Berkeleyside’s Lance Knobel. People are being searched before they can enter the park with pat downs and bag searches. Police have created zone of separation with two lines of orange barricades and between the two lines. There are no signs of antifa demonstrators.

“We have a massive amount of resources, most of which you won’t see. I’m hoping people come out and peacefully express their views,” Berkeley Police Chief Andy Greenwood said to Berkeleyside.

According to Berkeleyside contributing photographer David Yee, there are 10 CHP vehicles, mostly SUVs, parked on Hearst, near Grant, with dozens of officers milling about. Three left-wing protesters standing at Hearst and MLK are redirecting people from the original meeting spot to a new meeting spot, near Grant.

10:25 a.m. The Groucho protesters are out in force near Crescent lawn at Mike’s Bikes.

Groucho demonstrators. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Two peaceful demonstrators at Cresent lawn anti-hate rally Sunday morning. Photo: Melati Citrawireja

10 a.m. Right before 10 a.m., dozens of people were gathered on Oxford Street, some putting together signs, some briefing others on what was expected to happen, and others just standing around. The coalition that organized the Bay Area Rally Against Hate, trained about 150 people to monitor the event.

Since UCPD police have banned bringing signs on sticks, purses, water bottles as well as other things onto the Crescent lawn,  some protesters said they planned to demonstrate on Oxford Street rather than gather on the lawn. Some spoke of crowding onto the street to demonstrate.

Frank Phillips, of the East Bay Democratic Socialists of America, said people are massing on Oxford and other streets to close them to cars for safety reasons. He believes police should have closed the street.

“That shouldn’t be our responsibility,” said Phillips. “The fact that we had to do this two weeks after a terrorist attack with a car is disgusting.”

At 9:40 a.m. a University of California police officer stands in a quiet West Crescent area cordoned off by concrete dividers. Photo: Chris Polydoroff
A peaceful sign on the Veteran’s building at Civic Center Park in Berkeley. Photo: Tracey Taylor
Message on the pavement. Photo: Jacquelyn McCormick

The stage is set for a Sunday full of demonstrations in downtown Berkeley, even if nobody really knows what to expect, given confusing messaging from some of the protest organizers.

Authorities have erected barriers at the two main rally venues: Civic Center Park and UC Berkeley’s Crescent lawn on Oxford Street. Police and some demonstrators were already in place Sunday morning around 8:30 a.m. at both locations. AC Transit buses are on detour in downtown Berkeley and there are many parking restrictions.

Berkeleyside will launch its live blog of today’s events here. We’ll get going soon. Meantime below is a schedule of the events planned for today. And note the rules for demonstrators at both venues:

City of Berkeley rules issued for Civic Center Park.

UC Police rules for Crescent Lawn (note no bags or backpacks, water bottles, except factory-sealed clear plastic bottles.)

Schedule of Sunday’s events (note some details may change):

Read complete Berkeleyside coverage of the Berkeley protests.