Protesters, anti-protesters, and anarchists collide at ‘March 4 Trump’ rally
March 7, 2017
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Pepper spray, wooden sticks, and the American flag. These are the tools of the new wave of supporters for President Donald Trump.
On March 4, protests were held across the nation with the phrase “March 4 Trump” as their main slogan.
Trump supporters waved signs that said “Deplorables for Trump” and carried around plastic cutouts of the president to show their approval for his actions. Because of the president’s accusations against former President Barack Obama’s alleged wiretappings, these people joined the movement to show that they believed Trump even though the media had cited his allegations as being false.
In many places across the country, the protests occurred peacefully and with few interruptions.
However, this was not the case at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Berkeley. As the crowd thickened, the two factions of pro-Trump and anti-Trump supporters began to shout and throw objects at each other.
“I think the anti-Trump protesters were within their rights to attend the ‘March 4 Trump’ rally, but I don’t think it was very wise to do so,” said Colin Chen, a junior. “If they knew that they could have caused a conflict to occur, they shouldn’t have gone there.”
Fighting began as the two groups converged on the grass. One man who sprayed pepper spray into the eyes of those in the crowd was assaulted by a barrage of baseball bats, American flags, and two-by-fours.
Those that were hit with the pepper spray were temporarily incapacitated and needed treatment.
Within another area of the crowd, a woman pulled off an elderly man’s “Make America Great Again” hat, wrestled a Trump supporter to the ground, and was rallied on by the crowd who shouted, “Kick him!”
Damage was also wreaked through the streets as “black bloc” anarchists walked through the city and mingled with the crowd. These anarchists had damaged property beforehand at previous protests in the Bay Area.
“I was waiting at a bus stop and a man and several others began lecturing us. He claimed that we were all going to go bankrupt and that we were brainwashed by progressives,” said UC Berkeley student Ivan Ortega, who passed by the protest. “[Then], while on the bus, I saw a huge group of about 30 protesters in black leather jackets and bandanas covering their faces.”
According to the Berkeley police, at least 10 arrests were made during the protest. Despite doing this, they were also criticized by some people who believed that they should have taken further action.
“I think the police should have intervened immediately when the two sides began to fight,” Ty Marshall, a junior. “I don’t think the police could have done anything before the fights broke out, but if the anti-Trump protestors came to start trouble, they should have done something.”