Yesterday (Dec. 6) evening, University of California, Berkeley students organized an ostensibly peaceful protest against racism and police violence “in solidarity” with Ferguson protesters against the St. Louis County grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of black teen Michael Brown.
Alas, the Berkeley students did not get the memo about the irony and the hypocrisy of a protest against police violence itself descending into violence and senseless trashing and looting of businesses that have nothing to do with Michael Brown or racism or blacks.
As recounted by the Berkeley Police Department:
Berkeley, California (Saturday, December 6, 2014) – This evening, a peaceful protest turned violent when several splinter groups broke off and began hurling bricks, pipe, smoke grenades, and other missiles at officers.
The protest began peacefully, and moved from Telegraph Avenue into the downtown area, and then to in front of the Police and Fire Public Safety Building. There, a small portion of the group splintered from the peaceful demonstrators and started throwing rocks, pipes and bottles at officers. Numerous officers were struck, and one officer was struck with a large sandbag, and treated at a local hospital for a dislocated shoulder. These splinter groups also ran through several Berkeley neighborhoods vandalizing cars and breaking windows and looting businesses.
The crowd continued marching, arriving on Martin Luther King Jr. Way and University Avenue. Members of the crowd began vandalizing businesses on University Avenue, including Trader Joe’s, Radio Shack, and Wells Fargo Bank.
The crowd moved west, splintered and regrouped several times, as they moved to 6th/University, then back east to San Pablo Avenue and nearby streets, and eventually east up University Avenue, through the downtown area, and up Bancroft Way to Telegraph Ave.
Berkeley Police used smoke and tear gas after crowds refused to disperse and continued to vandalize local businesses and pelt officers with rocks, bottles, and pipes.
Numerous police vehicles were vandalized as the crowd moved through the south campus area….
The Berkeley Police Department is being supported by over a hundred officers from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, Oakland Police Department, Pleasanton Police Department, Hayward Police Department, Alameda Police Department, California Highway Patrol and the BART Police Department.
Daily Mail says the protesters numbered around 400; 6 people were arrested.
Here are a video and photos from the Berkeley Riot of December 6, 2014. As you can see, most of the “protesters” are white college-age. Some were wearing U.C. Berkeley (“Cal”) sweat shirts.
Reportedly, members of the Revolutionary Communist Party, Workers World Party, Occupy Wall Street, and pro-Palestine statists have joined the Michael Brown protests across America. Read more here.
Update (Monday, Nov. 8):
Last night, there was another “protest” of 500-600 people which also devolved into violence. Stores along Shattuck Ave. in downtown Berkeley were looted.