17 Arrested in Clashing Political Rallies in Berkeley

The 'No to Marxism in America 2' rally has drawn rival anti-fascist and anti-Marxist protesters

Berkeley police have made at least 17 arrests Sunday as protesters clash around Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park.

The "No to Marxism in America 2" rally Sunday afternoon has drawn rival anti-fascist and anti-Marxist protesters, some of whom are carrying weapons and throwing fireworks, police said.

Amber Gwen Cummings organized the rally, which started at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park at noon. Cummings held a "No to Marxism" rally in the same park in August 2017 at which a man was beaten to the ground, among other violent acts.

A counter-protest was also planned. Police were urging all who planned to attend either event to separate themselves from violence and, if it can be done safely, report any violence to police.

As of 3 p.m., police had arrested the following people on suspicion of possessing a banned weapon: Javier Cruz-O'Connell, 27, of Berkeley; Jamie Louise Hill, 30, of Emeryville; Ericka Sokolower-Shain, 28, of Berkeley; Andres Gonzalez, 35, of Oakland; JasonWallach, 49, of Oakland; Kate Brenner, 69, of Oakland; Kristin Edith Koster, 50, of Berkeley; Sarena Lynette Perez, 39, of Oakland; David Siegfried Chou, 26, of Santa Cruz; Bella Podolsky, 27, of San Francisco, and Maria Lewis, 29, of Emeryville. Lewis and Chou are also suspected of working with others to commit a crime.

Additionally, Blake Griffith, 29, of Oakland, was arrested on suspicion of vandalism; Freddy Martinez, 31, of Berkeley, was arrested on suspicion of battery; and Thomas Parker, 22, of Berkeley and Caitlin Boyle, 27, of Oakland were arrested on suspicion of working with others to commit a crime.

A group of several hundred people were marching on University Avenue, eastbound from Martin Luther King Jr. Way, early Sunday afternoon. Police are advising those traveling in the area to plan for delays and consider alternate routes.

Police on Saturday released a lengthy list of items prohibited at the rally, noting, "These rules are intended to assist those wishing to peaceably express their First Amendment rights."

Sticks, pipes, poles, lengths of lumber or wood, baseball bats, bricks, pepper spray, knives and firearms are some of the items banned at Civic Center and Ohlone parks.

Anyone violating the prohibition will be subject to citation and arrest, authorities said.

"There are concerns that the motivation behind some of the Aug. 5 events is to mark and revive violent conflicts that occurred during protests in Berkeley in 2017, both on the University of California campus and in city parks and streets," police said in a statement.

At least 10 people were arrested in Cummings' 2017 event. A fistfight took place between two people on Martin Luther King Jr. Way near Allston Avenue. A person dressed in black, the hallmark of the infamous Black Bloc, which advocates violence, destroyed another attendee's camera.

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