Berkeley Protest Sept 24, 2017 – “Free Speech Rally”
Demonstration for and against the eventually cancelled “Free Speech” rally, organized by the Berkeley Patriot and Milo Yiannopoulos. Tensions were high and insults were plentiful.
September 24, 2017
Sproul Plaza, Berkeley, California
Arrests, Insults & Broken Cameras
See more in gallery below…
The event drew a very large crowd, but Milo proved to be the only arrival from the original list (it was “cancelled”) and even then, spent less than half an hour on location. A visit that many reported to consist of mostly autographing hats and shirts.
In the surrounding area, which was heavily patrol by the increased police force, stood a mass of individuals from both sides of the divide, squaring off in a war of words, insults, pushes and random moments of the bizarre. For instance, amongst the curses of “Communist”… “Nazi”… “Fascist”…. [insert common insult of choice], I spotted a beach ball bouncing atop the crowd, batted about by Trump supporter and anti-Trump protester alike.
Additionally, as the crowd broke away into a march, leading with the anti-Trump participants, followed by the Trump supporters… another dash of the surreal occurred. As the crowd uniformly merged into one and together, like a bickering flock of blackbirds, they systematically navigated a perfect juke move on the dozens of police officers posted in the street to funnel the crowd. Made all the more entertaining, when over hearing a police officer stating, “Oh, Shit, They Tricked Us!”.
Beyond that, it was a constant ebb and flow of rising and falling tempers, transitioning chants from both factions and a couple of detainments and arrests. One of these arrests had a couple of less than desirable moments. For one, I happen to be in the direct line of a tackle arrest and had the honor of riding that one out, but I didn’t go down. So, yeah, two points there. Secondly, after they got the young man in the car, they sped off, narrowly missing a couple as they crossed the crosswalk ahead. It was a bit unnerving.
Let’s see, a guy got his camera busted up and then himself slammed upon a police cruiser, another guy was dressed up with a Trump mask the likes of Point Break, flexing and kissing his muscles… and a reporter floated about so colorful and disconnected from the scene, that it gave me true pause to stop and watch in bewildered amusement.
All in all, the weather was great for documenting a protest.