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Saturday’s march 4 Trump, or march for Trump if you prefer, went exactly as many predicted: lots of shouting and sporadic bouts of violence. What was perhaps less expected was how prepared to commit violence the Trump supporters were. Most of them were easy enough to identify by their red “Make America Great Again” trucker hats, superfluous American flags and other typical Conservative regalia. Some, however, came dressed as though they were going into battle. One in particular wore paramilitary type garb, carried a wooden shield with an American flag over a silver V. He was prepared with his own gas mask (as well as his own tear gas grenades) and club, all of which he used throughout the day (you can see him in the melee around 2 minutes in the video below as well as at other points).
Many of the anti-protesters came equipped as well. The usual black sweaters and faces covered in bandannas, but what is surprising is that the right usually perpetuates a narrative that they are innocent protesters who are ambushed and attacked by violent leftist anarchists. These Trump supporters were by no means innocent. On several occasions I witnessed them brutally attack the other side, with the type of malice that can only be attributed to pure hatred.
But then why pick Berkeley in the first place? I suspect it was a decision based on the anti-Milo protest at UC Berkeley on February 1st. The Trump supporters likely wanted violence in order to perpetuate their growing narrative that the left are violent and intolerant. Further evidence for this can be seen in the many Trump supporters who came with clubs, knives, and other weapons. In the bay area of California there are almost 7 million people, and this was the only March for Trump in the entire region, but the rather small number of Trump supporters who showed up were the hard core believers. Roughly 60-80 mostly white, mostly not from Berkeley agitators set on getting theirs.
I don’t believe that this march was in any way representative of conservatives in America; rather, it was an outing for the alt-right. The antagonistic, militant wing of the far right came out hoping to inspire violence, and likely looking forward to hurting those they see as inferior Americans. Alt-right symbols were scattered all around the pro-Trump crowd. From Pepe the frog and “Don’t tread on me” flags, to numerous individuals wearing Infowars shirts. This was indeed a march for Trump, filled with his most loyal followers.
I’m not arguing that the anti-Trump protesters were peaceful and innocent either. Many certainly came for the same purpose as the Trump supporters. Compared to the measly 60-80 Trump supporters, there were a massive number on the other side. The anti-Trump protesters brought their own clubs and helmets, ready for the clash we all knew would occur, but many told me they had wished for a peaceful counter protest to show they really are better. Undoubtedly, the next four years will contain many more protests, and the violence will continue, stoked by a hatred so deep, and so unnecessary.