Anarchist rampage in Berkeley renews free speech debate

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BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) – Lots of of masked, black-clad anarchists who overwhelmed a peaceable California protest and assaulted at the least 5 perceived political enemies have reignited the talk over making certain free speech whereas defending public security within the metropolis the place the U.S. free speech motion was born within the Nineteen Sixties.

After deliberate weekend rallies have been violently disrupted or canceled, supporters of President Donald Trump and different politically conservative activists complained their free speech rights have been blocked by liberal politicians who they are saying incited left-wing extremists.

When Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson canceled his San Francisco rally Saturday, he blamed San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Democratic U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi for falsely labeling the group as a hate group and inciting extremism to vow violent disruption.

Others stated that the violence on Sunday in close by Berkeley, referred to as the U.S. coronary heart of the free speech motion, tarnished their peaceable opposition to Trump’s insurance policies.

“It performed into the false narrative that some conservatives have spun,” about violent left-wing stifling of free speech, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin stated Monday, a day after the anarchists assaulted the individuals they thought have been proper-wing extremists and pepper sprayed Gibson.

Gibson’s supporters stated the Berkeley police failed to guard the handful of proper-wing supporters who confirmed up on the park Sunday afternoon by permitting the black-clad demonstrators to take over the town park with out opposition. The proper-wing group was outnumbered by hundreds of opponents, however the rally was tense however peaceable till the anarchists arrived.

A number of demonstrators tried to cease the violence and helped the assault victims escape whereas others screamed for the beating to cease.

The assault on the conservatives on the a Berkeley park “undoubtedly sends the flawed message,” stated Ed Tisher, who got here to oppose them however ended up serving to a Trump supporter knocked to the bottom and shielding him from extra attainable violence till police arrived.

Yvonne Felarca, a spokeswoman for the militant left-wing group By Any Means Vital, defended Sunday’s violence, calling it self-protection – although it there have been no indications anybody one tried to bodily hurt the anarchists on the park.

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