LOCAL CALIFORNIA

A pair of weekend rallies expected to generate major counter-protests in the San Francisco Bay Area have been canceled, but the possibility of tense street confrontations remains. The Times will be tracking developments on the ground all weekend in this space. Here's what we know so far:

  • Organizers have called off rallies planned at San Francisco's Crissy Field and in Berkeley
  • Photos from the scene showed large crowds with signs and banners
  • The expected crowds will test whether police can prevent the violent clashes recently seen in other cities.
  • Some politicians, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, wanted to block a permit for the Crissy Field protest in San Francisco.
  • Dog owners opposed to the event took a stand, of sorts.

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Police identify 13 people arrested in Berkeley demonstrations

Riot police arrest a counter-protester during the "No To Marxism" rally at Berkeley's Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park. (Amy Osborne /AFP/Getty Images)
Riot police arrest a counter-protester during the "No To Marxism" rally at Berkeley's Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park. (Amy Osborne /AFP/Getty Images)

Berkeley police identified 13 people arrested during a protest Sunday that drew thousands of people to the city's Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park and sparked violence between far-left and far-right demonstrators. 

One officer was injured during an arrest and several others were struck with paint, according to the Berkeley Police Department. Paramedics treated six people; two were taken to a hospital for treatment. 

Those arrested include: 

  • Seth Vasquez, 25, of Berkeley, was arrested on suspicion of violating park rules and security rules for city buildings.
  • Mark Misohink, 23, of Berkeley, was arrested on suspicion of violating park rules and security rules for city buildings.
  • James Dominic, 23, of Oakland, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime.
  • Kristopher Wyrick, 39, of Alpine, Calif., was arrested on suspicion of fighting in public.
  • Harlan Pankau, 38, of Jamul, Calif., was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication.
  • Levi Smith, 32, of Sparks, Nev., was arrested on suspicion of violating park rules and security rules for city buildings.
  • Sean Hines, 20, of Santa Rosa, Calif., was arrested on suspicion of resisting police and violating security rules for city buildings.
  • Brittany Moorman, 26, of Oakland, was arrested on suspicion of violating park rules and security rules for city buildings.
  • Yesenia Mendez, 22, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, resisting police and wearing a mask to evade recognition in the commission of any public offense.
  • Emily Gillespie, 24, of Berkeley, was arrested on suspicion of battery.
  • Sean Dougan, 47, of Portland, Ore., was arrested on suspicion of battery, vandalism and inciting a riot; 
  • Rachel Moore, 40, of Oakland, was arrested on suspicion of battery with serious bodily injury.
  • Joshua Phillips, 36, of Oakland, was arrested on suspicion of resisting police and participating in a riot. 

Video shows mob beating man at Berkeley protest

The protests in Berkeley appeared to be getting more violent.

The video above shows someone being beaten by a mob.

Counter protesters far outnumbered pro-Trump backers.

There were shoving matches around well-known Orange County far-right figure Johnny Benitez. Some screamed “Go home Nazi,” as police tried to escort Benitez and Irma Hinojosa, a member of the Southern California group Latinos for Trump, through the crowd and out of the park.

Some arrests have been made.

 

BerkeleyPoliceSan Francisco

Several arrested as tension grows between protest groups in Berkeley

One of several fights that broke out Sunday. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
One of several fights that broke out Sunday. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

The Berkeley Police Department has arrested 10 people for various violations, including fighting, as tension grows between demonstrators protesting hate groups and supporters of President Trump on Sunday afternoon.

The mostly peaceful demonstration started heating up about noon at Martin Luther King Park, where the two rival groups faced off and several fights broke out.

 

There were shoving matches surrounding well-known Orange County far-right figure Johnny Benitez. Some screamed, “Go home Nazi!” as police tried to escort Benitez and Irma Hinojosa, a member of the Southern California group Latinos for Trump, through the crowd and out of the park.

Police in riot gear fired a rubber bullet at one demonstrator who attempted to cross a barricade into the park, which was closed to the public, but later opened. Some protesters set off purple smoke bombs.

The moderate counter-protesters are livid with the violence. "We need to get antifa out of here." said a man who helped break up fight. 

The size of counter-protest group grew even more when members of the Black Bloc arrived at the park. 

Antifa demonstrators, short for antifascists, at some point rushed a member of  Patriotic Prayer, a conservative group that says it advocates free speech and 1st Amendment rights, arrived at the park.

Shane Bauer, a reporter with Mother Jones, tweeted that he had been “pepper sprayed in the eye.” 

A Los Angeles Times reporter also tweeted that protesters threatened to break reporters' cameras if they film them.

Berkeley

Joey Gibson, organizer of Saturday's canceled rally, arrested after running at police

Joey Gibson, the founder of the Patriot Prayer group that organized Saturday's canceled rally in San Francisco, was arrested after running at police today. 

Shortly after arriving at the Berkeley rally, the prominent right-wing organizer was met with resistance from members of Antifa, an anti-fascist movement. 

Members of Antifa were seen involved in a number of violent scuffles. 

Gibson, who showed up with members of his Oregon-based right-wing Patriot Prayer group, was arrested outside MLK Park. 

Gibson announced on Friday that his group had canceled its “Freedom Rally” planned for Saturday at Crissy Field Beach in San Francisco.

“It doesn’t seem safe, a lot of people’s lives are going to be in danger tomorrow,” he said during an interview with Unite America First.

Elsewhere at the rally, hundreds of masked members of Antifa carrying shields climbed a police barricade and entered a Berkeley park.

UPDATES:

2:36 p.m.: This post has been updated with Gibson's arrest and Antifa's involvement.

This post originally published at 2:09 p.m.

BerkeleyPoliceSan Francisco

Here's what the Berkeley Police Department told demonstrators not to bring

The Berkeley Police Department sent out a reminder Sunday morning about everything that protesters are barred from bringing to Martin Luther King Civic Center Park.

And it’s a long list.

It includes: baseball bats, metal pipes and bricks; “anything else that can be used for a ‘riot’” will be prohibited at the park, according to a bulletin.

Similar items have been banned in areas adjacent to the park, which has drawn demonstrators for and against President Trump.

Check out the list here

“The city will work to safeguard our community while facilitating the peaceful expression of the First Amendment,” the bulletin says.

Berkeley

Watch live: Counter-protesters fill the streets in Berkeley despite canceled rally

BerkeleyPoliceSan Francisco

As the number of demonstrators grows in Berkeley, so do the number of people being taken into police custody

As the number of people Sunday's demonstrations against hate groups and the Trump administration grows in Berkeley, so has the number of people detained for fighting and wearing masks that the city has prohibited.

 

Several people were taken into custody by police in MLK Park as fights between Trump supporters and opponents broke out. Some were detained by police for wearing masks.  

 

Trump detractors continue to vastly outnumber his supporters  and are surrounding the Trump fans and chanting "No Trump, No KKK, no fascist USA!"

Trump supporter: 'I'm doing my part being out here'

Jordan Davis, 25, left, wore a Trump for President flag as a cape and a shirt that depicted George Washington playing guitar and Abraham Lincoln playing the drums. (Benjamin Oreskes / Los Angeles Times)
Jordan Davis, 25, left, wore a Trump for President flag as a cape and a shirt that depicted George Washington playing guitar and Abraham Lincoln playing the drums. (Benjamin Oreskes / Los Angeles Times)

At Martin Luther King Park in downtown Berkeley, the news media and Trump opponents vastly out numbered the handful of Trump supporters who had come out. 

Jordan Davis, 25, wore a Trump for president flag like a cape over a T-shirt depicting George Washington playing guitar and Abraham Lincoln playing drums.

Davis lives in Berkeley and thought it was important to come out and show that the president has some support in these "liberal Marxist enclaves."

That said he was disappointed more people hadn't showed up, because today had been circled on his calender for months.

"I'm doing my part being out here. I support the president's America first message."

As Davis spoke, a half a dozen Trump opponents stood on top of the fountain in the middle of the park and sang, "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine."

Local authorities had released a long list of prohibited items and were searching bags before people entered the park. Several protesters were later escorted out of the park because they were either wearing goggles or other items that covered their faces.

Bay Area SURJ organizers urge their members to stand together, be disciplined — but fight back

Music blared from speakers on Sunday at Ohlone Park as dozens of people gathered for a rally and march to denounce racism and fascism, part of a series of protests expected in Berkeley in response to a canceled anti-Marxism demonstration.

“We need to do everything in our power to undermine and do away with white supremacists and white supremacy itself,” said Jeff Conant, with Showing up for Racial Justice, known as Bay Area SURJ.

SURJ, a decentralized grass-roots organization dedicated to racial justice, organized the event with other activist and liberal groups under the Bay Area Resistance umbrella, including the National Lawyers Guild and the Anti Police-Terror Project.

Conant said the group wanted to take a stand against people who spew hate speech, as well as the criminalization of antifa leftists by police.

SURJ members are encouraged not to engage in acts of violence, Conant said, but some have been trained in self-defense and medical response. Members toted pastel pink and purple wooden shields colorfully decked with stenciled animals and anti-hate slogans, placards that Conant said served to promote a peaceful message and doubled as a tool for protection.

As of Sunday afternoon, SURJ group members were coordinating with organizers of another rally in Martin Luther King Civic Center Park, where the “Say No To Marxism” rally was to be held before organizer Amber Cummings scrapped the event. The groups were planning to merge. 

Before the march, demonstrators gave instructions on safety precautions and presented speeches and poetry from a makeshift stage on the bed of a truck. They urged marchers not to respond to white supremacists or police officers. They were warned to not video record their march, and to distrust reporters because a video crew from a far right web blog had been found in the crowd.

"Be disciplined, move together," Tur-Ha Ak, leader of the Anti-Police Terror Project, told the crowd. "But fight back."

Legal observers from the National Lawyers Guild milled about  the crowd urging demonstrators to write the organization's hotline phone number on their arms, in event of arrest.

Street artists and humorists also were present.

"The humor element is crucial here. It is what makes the difference," said Lincoln Cushing, 64, an archivist from Berkeley and a Marxist. On his head was a large paper hat festooned with Karl Marx line dancers.

Berkeley Police: 'We don't want a car to be able to get through here and go rogue on us'

In the wake of the Charlottesville attack, authorities in Berkeley are using dump trucks to block roadways and protect demonstrators rallying against hate groups and the Trump administration Sunday morning. 

More than a week ago, a man rammed a car into anti-racist protesters in Virginia, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring at least 19 others. 

As a result, authorities in Berkeley used city trucks to block several roads.  

At the corner of University and Oxford, police lined a parade of dump trucks to form a barricade. 

"Ideally we don't want a car to be able to get through here and go rouge on us," One police officer could be heard saying.

After peaceful demonstrations in San Francisco, authorities hope for the same in Berkeley

UC Berkeley blocked a planned counter-demonstration at a campus park four blocks north of where the anti-Marxist rally was to have been held Sunday.

The organizer of the rally in Martin Luther King Civic Center Park called the event off, citing safety concerns. But much like Saturday in San Francisco, counter-demonstrators are still expected to fill the streets to, as they say, send a message to white supremacists and extremist figures that they are not welcome in the Bay Area.

Overnight, concrete barricades were put up, walling off the park, and emergency restrictions banned not only sticks, shields and helmets, but also backpacks.

"They said they put up these barriers to prevent cars," said civil rights attorney Anne Weills.

The result was that demonstrators supposedly being protected are also blocked

"It shows their arrogance and contempt for us," Weills said.

Berkeley and campus police have been supplemented by a large force of motorcycle cops from Oakland.

But early in the morning a large gathering of unionized government and office workers had clustered on the street across from the park, trying to figure out where to go. 

Efforts to create a space by blocking a street with a truck were stymied when officers ordered the truck moved. Demonstrators said they were negotiating with Berkeley police and blocking off several streets to create a safe gathering space.

Freedom Rally organizers have left Crissy Field, but the police are out in force

 (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Freedom Rally organizers confront protesters at Crissy Field; shouting and hugs ensue

Joey Gibson, organizer of the canceled Freedom Rally, talks to a reporter at Crissy Field. None
Joey Gibson, organizer of the canceled Freedom Rally, talks to a reporter at Crissy Field.

The right-wing Freedom Rally may have been canceled, but organizers showed up at San Francisco's Crissy Field anyway Saturday afternoon and talked with counter-protesters.

The scene was reminiscent of demonstrations in the area last spring, but there were many fewer helmeted or masked individuals on either side, and several of the encounters ended with hugs.

Kathryn Townsend, one of the original organizers and speakers for the Freedom Rally, said she wanted to make sure that she had a presence in the park even if the rally itself was canceled

"Our event was from 2 to 5, and I determined that I would be here from 2 to 5," she said.

Her phone rang with a call from a friend.

"It's really cool," she said. "A lot of people are here."

Townsend asked a man in a red Make America Great Again cap to lower his voice as he shouted at a counter-demonstrator.

In the meantime, federal park police stood by from a short distance away, watching.

'They will attack us for wearing red white and blue'

It wouldn't be a protest in San Francisco without some yoga

A group of yoga participates move through poses outside the Civic Center in San Francisco. (Benjamin Oreskes / Los Angeles Times)
A group of yoga participates move through poses outside the Civic Center in San Francisco. (Benjamin Oreskes / Los Angeles Times)

It wouldn't be a protest in San Francisco without some yoga to begin the day.

Just before a "Peace Love & Understanding" concert and rally kicked off at the city's Civic Center, about 30 people were breathing deeply and moving from one pose to the next.

Seva Simran Singh, 35, led the group in a meditation to "clear the inner landscape, feel some more peace and create a chance of common understanding," he said.

Singh lives nearby and after the yoga ended he said he didn't really see this gathering as a counter-protest.

"The time for silence has past. We need to express a message of peace," he said

There were food trucks and entrepreneurs selling buttons and shirts to a crowd that looked to be numbered in the thousands.

Groups of friends brought blankets and were sitting in the grass, making signs and listening to the music. Some squeezed under rows of trees to find some shade.

When Sarah Green, 35, heard that the rally organized by the Patriot Prayer group had been canceled, she felt "some empathy for those who couldn't express themselves."

Not Nazis or white supremacists, however. She said those bigots should stay away. 

On the other side of the crowded park outside the Civic Center, Tony Massara, 62, proudly held his homemade sign. It read: "Yahtzee!! Wait did he say Nazi?!? I hate Nazis!!"

Standing with his wife, Jan, the San Francisco resident explained that his father served during the London Blitz during World War II.

"These are my Nazis and my war," he said. "I'd feel like a coward if I got a scone and stayed home. The greatest generation showed up for their Nazis. I have to show up for mine."

Photos: Far-right rally is canceled in San Francisco, but counter-protesters take to the streets anyway

 (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

A right-wing rally scheduled to take place Saturday in San Francisco was canceled.

But that didn't stop counter-protesters from taking to the streets of the city with a message that far-right groups, including neo-Nazis and white supremacists, are not welcome in this liberal town.

L.A. Times photographer Marcus Yam is in the Bay Area this weekend. Here's some of what he's seen so far.

Thousands take to the streets in separate marches in protest against scrapped far-right rallies

With no sign of far-right demonstrators at San Francisco's Alamo Square Park, hundreds of counter-protesters began making their way toward the Mission District on Saturday afternoon, chanting and holding signs denouncing fascists.

The result was a makeshift conglomeration of activists and members of organizations representing immigrants, LGBTQ rights, Black Lives Matter, as well as other liberal and pro-communist groups.

“Hey, hey, ho, ho, neo-Nazis have to go,” some chanted.

Meanwhile, hundreds more counter-protesters gathered at Harvey Milk Plaza and Dolores Park for anti-hate rallies. The events had been planned over the past few weeks as alternatives to the Patriot Prayer group's since-canceled "Freedom Rally" at Crissy Field Beach.

Crowds from those marches merged into one and were making their way down the streets of the city in the direction of the Civic Center.

Organizers said they expected to join a "Peace Love & Understanding" rally organized by a Bay Area coalition of citizens, community groups, activists and artists.

Before the marches, a few dozen people gathered at Dolores Park in preparation of the "LovedUp Dance" rally. Katie Painter, 35, the co-organizer of the event, said it was meant to celebrate the diversity of San Francisco and the search for solutions to a tumultuous national climate.

"This event is not about what they [the far-right] are about," she said. "It is about what we are about."

Hundreds of counter-protesters march from Alamo Square Park to the Mission

Photo gallery: Counter-demonstrations in San Francisco

Protesters against fascism gather outside Alamo Park in San Francisco. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Protesters against fascism gather outside Alamo Park in San Francisco. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
San Francisco

Counter-protesters flood the streets around Alamo Square Park

 (James Queally / Los Angeles Times)
(James Queally / Los Angeles Times)

Hundreds of counter-protesters, anti-fascists and members of the Democratic Socialists of America seemed to have completely overtaken the area around Alamo Square Park on Saturday, where the Patriot Prayer group was supposed to stage a news conference in place of a canceled rally at Crissy Field Beach, a few miles away.

City officials had announced earlier that Alamo Square would be closed, and barriers were erected around the park.

"This is a victory rally!" one activist told the crowd over a microphone. "This is a victory over white supremacy."

Many in attendance said they felt moved to march despite the cancellation of the rally and the news conference. They wanted to send a clear message that far-right groups, including white supremacists and Nazis, would not be tolerated in San Francisco, they said.

Kelly Schultz, a high school teacher from nearby Richmond, held a sign parodying a famous line from Quentin Tarantino's film "Inglouriouo Basterds." The movie centers on a guerilla military group hunting and murdering Nazis in occupied France during World War II.

Schultz, who said she did not condone violence, toned down the film's bloody rhetoric a bit. Her sign read, "I'm here for one thing and one thing only: educatin' Nazis."

"We thought it was important to put our bodies on the line," said Schultz, 27. "I don't really have an opinion on what they're doing, but I thought it was important to be out here against it."

 (James Queally / Los Angeles Times)
(James Queally / Los Angeles Times)
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