Aug. 28 (UPI) — Thousands of people descended upon Berkeley, Calif., on Sunday for a “Rally Against Hate” in response to planned right-wing protests, leading to violent skirmishes and several arrests, police said.
At least 14 people were arrested at Berkeley’s Civic Center Park for violating protest rules by covering their faces or carrying items banned by authorities, according to NBC Bay Area.
Before the weekend rallies and protests took place, Berkeley officials made an effort “To ensure the peaceful expression of free speech,” including the prohibition of “sticks, pipes, poles and anything else that can be used for a riot.”
Police also said anything that “covers or partially covers the face and shields the wearer’s face from view, or partially from view, is prohibited.”
Several violent incidents, including assaults on protesters, were reported throughout the day.
A right-wing rally titled “No To Marxism in America” was planned to take place but ultimately was canceled by organizer Amber Cummings. Another right-wing rally titled “Patriot Prayer” also was canceled, reported KCRA.
Despite the cancellations, counter-protesters, sometimes referred to as “antifa,” still showed up where the events were to take place to protest. In some cases, violence broke out.
Joey Gibson, the leader of the canceled Patriot Prayer rally, was hit and pepper-sprayed by demonstrators before running to police for safety, reported the San Francisco Chronicle.
“We have received reports of several fights breaking out,” Berkeley police said in a statement Sunday afternoon.
Later in the day, protesters converged on Berkeley’s Ohlone Park, where the protest eventually subsided and disbanded.