All photos by Kevin Jenco
On Saturday April 15, Alt-Right Trump supporters and Antifa once again took to the streets of Berkeley in an orgy of violence and hate. When it was all said and done, both sides went home claiming to have won the day, but the truth is, nobody won.
This is the second targeted action by pro-Trump groups on Berkeley, inspired most likely by the city’s liberal reputation and the infamous anti-Milo protest earlier this year. The first protest on March 4th was covered widely by national media, and this time the crowds were larger, and the violence was more intense. Both sides went home badly bruised and bloody, most seeming happy to have “contributed” to a pointless war of political ideology.
With Ann Coulter coming to speak for the Berkeley College Republicans next week, we can only expect that this type of thing will continue, and undoubtedly Trump supporters are planning more events in Berkeley.
Members of the Oath Keepers militia from Montana came to participate in the rally. The Oath Keepers have been named an anti-government hate group by the SPLC, and are known for their paranoid beliefs about government restrictions on gun ownership, immigration, and other issues. A Berkeley resident named Raja told me he was unhappy with Trump supporters targeting Berkeley, and that he wondered what inspired someone to come all the way from Montana to cause havoc here.
“Baked Alaska” told the small crowd during his speech that they needed to make sure Trump keeps Steve Bannon and that General H.R. McMaster was a traitor for getting the U.S. involved in Syria. The speakers all seemed to have paranoid and conspiratorial views about international relations, especially when it came to immigration.
This protester told me he had fallen after someone had thrown an M-80 Firecracker in the crowd, had been pounced upon by Trump supporters and beaten brutally.
In the midst of altercations in an intersection a painter showed up, calmly set up his easel, and finished a cityscape.
By around 4pm most people had left, with stragglers staying around to start scuffles when they had the chance. One onlooker told me that she believes Trump supporters view societal progression as a zero sum game, where if one side wins, the other loses, that Trump supporters see their lives changing but don’t understand why they have to change, and that they believe minorities aren’t advancing by their own merit. She didn’t believe there was any cure for the hatred and anger that fuels these demonstrations, and I tend to agree.