Trump supporters, opponents clash in Berkeley, California park

BERKELEY, Calif., April 15 (Reuters) - A melee erupted on Saturday in a Berkeley, California park where supporters and opponents of President Donald Trump were holding competing rallies, resulting in at least 13 arrests as police struggled to keep the two camps separate.

As fist fights broke out between the two sides and people threw bottles and cans over a barricade separating them, police resorted to using to an explosive device at one point in a bid to restore order.

Several people were observed by a Reuters reporter with bloodied faces and minor injuries, but there was no official word on casualties from authorities.

The trouble unfolded when hundreds of Trump opponents staged a counter-rally alongside an event billed as a "Patriots Day" free speech rally and picnic, organized by mostly Trump supporters.

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Trump rallies turn violent in Berkeley, Calif.
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Trump rallies turn violent in Berkeley, Calif.
Anti and pro-Donald Trump protesters clash during the Patriots Day Free Speech Rally in Berkeley, California, U.S. April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
A man is treated after being pepper sprayed during the Patriots Day Free Speech Rally in Berkeley, California, U.S. April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
Anti and pro-Donald Trump protesters clash during the Patriots Day Free Speech Rally in Berkeley, California, U.S. April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
A protester is peppered sprayed by a counter protester during the Patriots Day Free Speech Rally in Berkeley, California, U.S. April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
A pro-Trump supporter bleeds after being hit by a counter protester during the Patriots Day Free Speech Rally in Berkeley, California, U.S. April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
Demonstrators in support of U.S. President Donald Trump gestures during a rally in Berkeley, California in Berkeley, California, U.S., April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A man in support of U.S. President Donald Trump (L) is being pepper spray by a group on counter-protestor during a rally in Berkeley, California in Berkeley, California, U.S., April 15, 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 TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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 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
Demonstrators against U.S. President Donald Trump throw a traffic cone towards opposition demonstrators during a rally in Berkeley, California in Berkeley, California, U.S., April 15, 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 TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A Trump supporter wrapped in a Trump flag looks on as multiple fights break out between Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters in Berkeley, California on April 15, 2017. Hundreds of people with opposing opinions on President Donald Trump threw stones, lit fires, tossed explosives and tear gas and attacked each other with makeshift weapons as police stood by. / AFP PHOTO / Josh Edelson (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A man sprayed with milk after being struck with a chemical irritant as multiple fights break out between Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters in Berkeley, California on April 15, 2017. Hundreds of people with opposing opinions on President Donald Trump threw stones, lit fires, tossed explosives and tear gas and attacked each other with makeshift weapons as police stood by. / AFP PHOTO / Josh Edelson (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
An injured man lies on the pavement as another injured man (R), bloodied from a brawl, walks away after multiple fights broke out between Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters in Berkeley, California on April 15, 2017. Hundreds of people with opposing opinions on President Donald Trump threw stones, lit fires, tossed explosives and tear gas and attacked each other with makeshift weapons as police stood by. / AFP PHOTO / Josh Edelson (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman gets milk poured in her eyes after getting sprayed with a chemical irritant as multiple fights break out between Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters in Berkeley, California on April 15, 2017. Hundreds of people with opposing opinions on President Donald Trump threw stones, lit fires, tossed explosives and tear gas and attacked each other with makeshift weapons as police stood by. / AFP PHOTO / Josh Edelson (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
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Between 500 and 1,000 people were in park as the rallies peaked, according to an estimate by a Reuters reporter.

Among the Trump opponents were some counter protesters dressed in black and wearing masks. The other side included self-described "patriots" and "nationalists," Trump supporters, free speech advocates, and other groups.

Daryl Tempesta, 52, who said he served in the U.S. Air Force near the end of the Cold War, went to the rally to show his support for Trump.

"As a veteran, I like the track America is on, and that Trump is willing to stand and say we are still America and we are not going to be globalist, we're not going to be a communist country," Tempesta said. "That's a message I can get behind."

A weekly farmers market was canceled ahead of the rally due to concerns about violence. Even so, a stall selling fresh vegetables remained open for business amid the fist fighting, explosions from firecrackers and smoke wafting through the air.

"We decided to show up anyway because this is our livelihood," said Tim Mueller, a farmer who owns the stall, surrounded by protesters on both sides.

At least 100 people from both camps eventually moved out to the park and into one of the city's main intersections, where they continued to fist fight, hurl insults and chant at each other.

The police presence was light there, and only two or three officers were seen near the crossroads.

Berkeley has a long history of liberal activism and the University of California, Berkeley was a center of protests in the 1960s. (Reporting by Noel Randewich; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Sandra Maler)

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