‘Sticks, pipes, poles’ prohibited Thursday at some Berkeley parks — and beyond

Items confiscated by police during recent demonstrations. Photo: Emilie Raguso

This notice was published Wednesday by the city of Berkeley. It appears below in full.

To ensure the peaceful expression of free speech, the City of Berkeley will temporarily prohibit sticks, pipes, poles and anything else that can be used for a “riot” on Thursday September 14 at three city parks.

In addition, there will also be temporary rules prohibiting various weapons on streets and sidewalks within a defined area.

Anyone violating these rules will be subject to citation and arrest.


These rules are intended to assist those wishing to peaceably express their First Amendment Rights. Thursday’s event at UC Berkeley comes in the wake of a February 1, 2017 campus event that drew numerous protesters, as well as dozens of masked extremists who started fires, destroyed property, and engaged in violent confrontations with other protesters and spread into the City streets.

At subsequent rallies and demonstrations in Civic Center Park on March 4 and April 15, assemblies turned violent, fights broke out, and numerous people were seriously injured.  Arrests were made for offenses that included battery and assault with a deadly weapon.  Numerous extremists wore masks or otherwise covered their faces so as to attempt to evade identification while attempting to or committing crimes and engaging in violence.

On August 27, 2017, coordinated groups of individuals used Ohlone Park as a meeting place to stage weapons, shields, and other implements of riot, and to practice fighting maneuvers and tactics. These individuals donned masks and collectively marched with their weapons and shields to Civic Center Park, accompanied by a flatbed truck that carried additional implements of riot. Given that many individuals brought items that were used as weapons into Civic Center Park on March 4, April 15 and August 27, the following items are prohibited from being brought into Civic Center Park, Ohlone Park and Willard Park by any person on September 14, 2017:

  • Metal pipes
  • Lengths of lumber or wood (any size)
  • Wooden dowels
  • Poles or staffs
  • Baseball bats or sticks modified for use as a weapon
  • Glass bottles or metal cans modified for use as a weapon
  • Bricks
  • Rocks
  • Pepper or bear spray (OC spray)
  • Mace
  • Knives or daggers
  • Firearms
  • Shields
  • Axes, axe handles, or hatchets
  • Ice picks
  • Razor blades
  • Tasers
  • Improvised explosive devices (IEDs)
  • Spray cans
  • Fire works
  • Smoke canisters
  • Dynamite
  • Heavy-gauge chain
  • Torches, lanterns or other devices that use fire or fuel
  • Slingshots
  • Any other item that is generally considered an “implement of riot” that can be used as a weapon

Additionally, in Civic Center Park, Willard Park and Ohlone Park on Thursday, September 14, signs and flags must be held by hand, and may not be affixed to any pole or stick. Wearing of a mask, scarf, bandana or any other accessory or item that covers or partially covers the face and shields the wearer’s face from view, or partially from view, is prohibited in Civic Center Park, Willard Park and Ohlone Park on September 14, except for coverings worn due to religious beliefs, practices or observances.

On September 14, the City is also issuing temporary regulations to restrict certain items, including bricks, rocks, axes, mace, knives, firearms, dynamite, and torches in a defined area of the City. This area is bounded by the following roads: Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd to the west; Piedmont Avenue, Gayley Road, La Loma Avenue and LeConte Avenue to the east: Dwight Way to the south, and Cedar Street to the north:


Copies of the two Administrative Rules for September 14, can be found at:

For peaceful protesters, there are a number of things people can do to stay safe. Separate yourself from people committing violence. Doing so not only keeps you safe, it prevents criminal acts from being done under the cover of a peaceful crowd. That allows police to focus on criminal acts.

The City will work to safeguard our community while facilitating the peaceful expression of the First Amendment. If anyone commits a crime in our community, we will work with the community to identify, investigate and prosecute suspects. That applies both during and after the event.