BERKELEY (CBS SF) — Mayor of Berkeley Jesse Arreguin on Monday said it is time to confront the violent extremism on the left by treating black-clad Antifa protesters as a gang.

A large number of masked Antifa activists were seen jumping the barriers at a largely peaceful demonstration in Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Civic Center Park on Sunday.

Some began attacking Trump supporters at the rally.

“I think we should classify them as a gang,” said Arreguin. “They come dressed in uniforms. They have weapons, almost like a militia and I think we need to think about that in terms of our law enforcement approach.”

Arreguin said that while he does not support the far right, it was time to draw the line on the left as well, especially on the black-clad activists who showed up in force and took over both the protests and the park, and played a part in Sunday’s violent clashes.

“I think we are going to have to think ‘big picture’ about what is the strategy for how we are going to deal with these violent elements on the left as well,” said the mayor.

The mayor said it was also time for the non-violent protesters to take a stand.

“We also need to hold accountable and encourage people not to associate with these extremists because it empowers them and gives them cover,” said Arreguin.

On Monday, protest organizers defended Antifa’s presence.

“White supremacists and fascists are not welcome. And if the state is not going to protect us — and if they do not — then we are going to protect ourselves and welcome those who stand with us,” said Sara Kershner with the National Lawyers Guild.

KPIX 5 news crews observed that most of the conservative demonstrators in the park were Trump supporters who repeatedly denounced Nazis and racists.

And while it didn’t look good, the mayor also praised Berkeley police for holding back and ceding the park to the anarchists when the group jumped the barriers.

“Black Bloc was trying to provoke the police,” said Arreguin. “I think some of the more conservative protesters had already left or had been escorted out.”

When asked what he would say to a Trump supporter who was chased down the street, the mayor replied, “It’s unacceptable. Anyone who was injured… it’s completely unacceptable and we are going to be looking at video and identifying people.”

In the wake of Charlottesville and Sunday’s troubles in Berkeley, the mayor also called on UC Berkeley to call off next month’s Free Speech Week featuring Milo Yiannopoulos.

It was an appearance by Yiannopoulos in February that triggered a riot in Sproul Plaza on campus.

“I believe that is the right thing to do,” said Arreguin. “And if they don’t do that, then they need to work with the city and potentially assist the city through resources to be able to adequately police what we know is going to be a large protest that will spill out onto the city streets.”

Comments (113)
  1. The mayor is a member of BAMN and backs Yvette Felarca who prays on children/traffics children. Yvette Felarca is no inciting violence and assaulting Trump supporters (after being released on bond for inciting a riot and assault in Sacramento) and yet is still employed and has access to Berkeley public schools. Nothing but a distraction after the fact to deflect.

  2. Jack Edison says:

    the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.

  3. The dude was not “chased down the street” he was beaten badly and could have been killed.

  4. Apparently, according to the mayor (and by omission, the author), advocating free speech and peaceful debate is “far right.” In other words, denouncing the use of violence, and supporting the individual’s right to speak, makes you a Nazi. You read that right. The contradictions have become flagrant, they are crystal clear for all but the completely unthinking to see. The mental contortions half of America is preforming in their heads, and their complete emotionalism, would be comical if it weren’t so tragic.

  5. He wants them classified as a gang because then the law will go easier on them.

    If they’re a terrorist group, legally things are nasty for them.

    The mayor is a friend of the Antifa.

  6. Tim Brown says:

    Then why aren’t Trump’s thugs classified as a gang too?

    1. Chris Phelps says:

      I am all for classifying any group that uses violence to silence anyone who disagrees with them. Left wing thugs like Antifa and BAMN members qualify under this definition because they come in and start the violence. If KKK or white supremacists groups start violence then they should be labeled as well. I also think police should be pro-active and keep demonstrators apart and should physically remove and charge with crimes anyone who assaults another person regardless of what they stand for. The mayor of this town is reprehensible because he obviously ordered police to stand down.

  7. Typical liberal hypocrisy… Let the Nazis spread their hate Jesse…

  8. At another time in history Arreguin would be called colloborator.

  9. A gang. Sure. A gang that uses violence to intimidate people to either accept their politics or suppress other’s political speech. Some people considered the Nazis a gang too.

  10. “Trump supporters who repeatedly denounced Nazis and racists.” yet he spouted their rhetoric all campaign long, accepted contributions and endorsements from them, knowing full well who they were, put the head of admitted Alt -right publication brietbart on his staff, so tell me how are they Trump supporters and still feel they can denounce Nazi’s and Racists? They voted in the man who said groups named as their candidate for “supporting their values”.

  11. Craig Weis says:

    Cruizin For A Bruisin

    NorKs Fire ICBM OVER Japan. How Is This NOT An Act Of War??

    The tyrannical hermit nation fired yet another missile from Pyongyang towards the Sea of Japan on Monday evening, crossing Japanese territory in the boldest show of force under Kim Jong-un’s authoritarian rule.

    Now the Japanese Prime Minister has warned enough is enough amid rising fears of World War 3. As he entered his office for an emergency meeting, Mr Abe said: “We will make utmost efforts to firmly protect the lives of the people.”

    Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also described the missile test as an “unprecedented, grave threat”.

    Let’s cut through the clutter: “towards the Sea of Japan” means OVER Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, where 5 1/2 million Japanese people live.

    Granted, it’s tough for North Korea to fire off a long range missile anywhere, given that they have no direct ocean shoreline. So, take your missiles on a ship somewhere out to sea. Or better yet, stop firing them off. Because the whole world is getting tired of this nonsense.

    President Donald Trump warned on Tuesday that “all options are on the table” as the United States considers its response to North Korea’s firing of a ballistic missile over northern Japan’s Hokkaido island into the sea.

    The test, one of the most provocative ever from the reclusive state, came as U.S. and South Korean forces conduct annual military exercises on the peninsula, angering North Korea which sees them as a preparation for invasion.

    North Korea has conducted dozens of ballistic missile tests under its young leader, Kim Jong Un, the most recent on Saturday, in defiance of U.N. sanctions, but firing projectiles over mainland Japan is rare.

    Trump, who has vowed not to let North Korea develop nuclear missiles that can hit the mainland United States, said the world had received North Korea’s latest message “loud and clear”.

    “This regime has signalled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behaviour,” Trump said in a statement.

    “Threatening and destabilising actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table,” he said.

    Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke and agreed that North Korea “poses a grave and growing direct threat to the United States, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, as well as to countries around the world”, the White House said. The Republic of Korea is South Korea’s official name.

    Sadly, everyone including Little Kim Whoa Fat Jong Un knows this is just blowing smoke. He can get away with it, and more, so he will. Until one or maybe even two or three of his wobbly rockets land somewhere with a big bomb in it that actually goes off, he can posture and threaten and make more noise than a hungry baby with a dirty wet diaper, and the paper tigers will do nothing real.


  12. Just keep it on the west coast

  13. CA PC 185, CA MIL VET CODE 616, 10USC331, 10USC332, 10USC333, 32CFR215.

  14. Al Krause says:

    A nice start, but let’s get real. It’s a terrorist organization and should be called out as such.

    Heard their latest chant (at Berkeley)?:
    “No Trump, no wall, no USA at all!”

    That last is sedition.

  15. Tim O Theo says:

    they’re terrorists, TERR0R-ISTS..they’ve admitted they’re communists,,,they’re not gangs, nor gangsters…there are gangsters who’ve served this country, and gangsters who love this country, and gangsters who will not hurt helpless people like disabled veterans…these germs are miserable, lower than lowlife turds. flush them down the drain.

  16. That’s an interesting concept. So, this gang. Who are its leaders? Oh wait, these are anarchists, they don’t have leaders. Okay, so where’s this gang’s clubhouse? Who maintains this gang’s membership list? Oh wait, these are anarchists, they don’t belong to any organization that has a clubhouse or membership list!

    So, basically: This is a gang defined as “anybody who wears black and shows up at demonstrations looking for trouble.” Which sort of warps the whole notion of the word “gang” to meaninglessness. By that definition, we commenting here are a gang — we’re “anybody who shows up on and posts comments.”

    These “antifa” who show up dressed in black at demonstrations looking for trouble are individual common criminals and should be treated as such. There is no need to warp the meaning of the word “gang” to apply to random unorganized people who show up dressed in black looking for trouble.