Pro-Trump march turns violent at Berkeley

Donald Trump's supporters on Saturday took to the streets of Berkeley, California, and dozens of other cities across the country to march in favor of the president and free speech. The Berkeley event was organized partly in response to a February episode on the famously liberal campus, in which anti-fascist protests against conservative firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos turned violent.

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Violence at Pro-Trump march in Berkeley, California
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Violence at Pro-Trump march in Berkeley, California

A demonstrator in opposition of U.S. President Donald Trump sets a hat on fire during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

An injured demonstrator walks away after a "People 4 Trump" rally turned violent in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A man is pulled away from a scuffle as scattered fights break out between supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump and counter-protesters during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A bloodied supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump is seen after a "People 4 Trump" rally and counter-protest turned violent in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A demonstrator in support of U.S. President Donald Trump (L) scuffles with a counter-protester during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A demonstrator falls to the ground as a fight breaks out during a "People 4 Trump" rally and counter-demonstrations in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A police officer gestures as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump and counter-protesters scuffle during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A bloodied supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump is seen after a "People 4 Trump" rally and counter-protest turned violent in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A man (L) punches a supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A demonstrator in support of U.S. President Donald Trump swings a stick towards a group of counter-protesters during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

Counter-demonstrators (L) and supporters (R) of U.S. President Donald Trump fight for a U.S. flag during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

Two supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump are seen wearing U.S. flags during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A demonstrator in support of U.S. President Donald Trump (L) swings a stick towards a counter-protester during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A demonstrator in support of U.S. President Donald Trump swings a stick towards a group of counter-protesters during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

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Berkeley's "March 4 Trump," one of three events planned in California, kicked off at 2 p.m. PST. Only about 200 participants were anticipated, according to its Facebook page, and a reporter on the scene estimated that around 400 people — evenly split between marchers and protesters — attended the march.Scuffles between marchers and protesters broke out early, after a pro-Trump marcher punched a protester. Observers posted photos and videos of the violence to social media.

But while the event was billed as a march for the 45th president, organizer Richard Black, a self-described libertarian, said it was also march for freedom of speech and to send a message that the mayhem that broke out in Berkeley on February 1 will not be tolerated. Black-clad anti-fascists responded violently to fans of Yiannopoulos, who was supposed to deliver a speech on campus that was eventually canceled.

"This is a response to those who had their first amendment rights sort of physically stripped from them that day," Black told us in an interview on Friday. "They were kind of forced out of the school and physically assaulted by those on the radical fringe left, who have sort of been terrorizing campuses all over the U.S. by shutting down these lectures and limiting free speech and open discussion and open discourse."

Although counter-protest organizers previously said there was a possibility that white nationalists would join the march, Black insisted that his march was not organized to spread a message of hate and that it attracted a diverse group of people.

40 PHOTOS
Trump fans stage series of small rallies across U.S.
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Trump fans stage series of small rallies across U.S.
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather for a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather for a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather for a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Donald Trump supporter Beth Holz salutes during a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather for a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
A supporter of President Donald Trump displays an autographed baseball hat during a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather for a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Gia Morris (R), 8, carries a doll while cheering during a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
A supporter of President Donald Trump prays during a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Erin Elmore, spokesperson for President Donald Trump, speaks during a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Erin Elmore, spokesperson for President Donald Trump, speaks during a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Eric Falco, 32, embraces Alyssa Klingman, 23, while holding a "Make America Great Again" sign during a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Alex Carlin holds a mask depicting President Donald Trump during a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather for a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Gia Morris, 8, carries a doll beside a flag depicting President Donald Trump while posing for a portrait during a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather for a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather for a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather for a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Supporters of President Donald Trump arrive for a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer during a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Alex Carlin (C) holds a mask depicting President Donald Trump as supporters gather for a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather for a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Alex Carlin waves while wearing a mask depicting President Donald Trump during a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
A woman wears a Trump campaign pin on her hat as supporters of President Donald Trump gather for a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
A woman wears a "Trump" pin on her hat as supporters of President Donald Trump gather for a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
(L-R) Sisters Ava, 8, and Kaylee DiGiannantonio, 9, shiver during a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Light illuminates a mask depicting President Donald Trump during a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Betsy Grosskopf wears an autographed hat by President Donald Trump during a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Ellen Caruso prays during a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather for a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather for a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer during a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
Supporters line U.S. President Donald Trump's motorcade route near the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Supporters line U.S. President Donald Trump's motorcade route near the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Supporters line U.S. President Donald Trump's motorcade route near the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Supporters line U.S. President Donald Trump's motorcade route near the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Supporters line U.S. President Donald Trump's motorcade route near the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather for a "People 4 Trump" rally at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Makela
U.S. President Donald Trump's motorcade stops momentarily alongside a group of supporters as he returns to the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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"That's the thing I have to keep reminding people: this isn't so much liberals versus conservatives, and so on and so forth," he said, adding that some in the Bay Area smeared the march before it even began. "We have communist-oriented media sites saying we're going there to provoke immigrants and harass minorities. It's absurd."

Co-organizer Kathy Zhu, a pro-Trump activist, also denied that the Berkeley march was solely dedicated to Trump.

"This isn't a protest, this is more of a celebration of our First Amendment rights. We want people to know that they cannot censor others," she told us in an email. "Free speech has nothing to do with Trump at all, but more of an American standard as a whole. The U.S. was founded on our freedoms and radical lefts should not censor those who want to speak on a college campus and burn things when they don't get their way."

Zhu also dismissed the idea that the march was somehow connected to prejudiced groups, and accused members of the left of inciting more violence than right-wingers.

"We are not violent like how the lefts' portray us to be. We have always had peaceful marches and events. Only the lefts make it violent. Antifa has been posting my photos around social media for people to target me and hunt me down because of my views," she said. "When did being a conservative, supporting your president, and practicing our first amendment right make us alt-right and a white nationalist?"

The post Pro-Trump March Turns Violent At Berkeley appeared first on Vocativ.

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