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Antifa Attack Free Speech at Berkeley Rally

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Reginald Walden

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Antifa Attack Free Speech at Berkeley Rally

On February 1, Antifa, a loose collection of Anarchists, Communists, and Anarcho-Communists violently disrupted an event hosted by Milo Yiannopolous at UC Berkeley. The vandalism and vicious beatings inspired a nation-wide debate over freedom of speech and political violence. One of the most recent responses to the Berkeley riots is the Free Speech Rally on April 15 in Berkeley, California.

The Free Speech Rally included speakers such as Lauren Southern and Kyle “Based Stick Man” Chapman, who fought several Antifa members with a large stick in a previous rally. While these speakers give off the appearance of a right-wing event, the actual makeup of the attendees was politically diverse and included many old hippies.

Antifa believed the event was a white supremacist rally and held a counter-demonstration. This counter-demonstration quickly descended into violence as they tore down the barricade between their events. They threw mortars, M80s, and empty glass bottles into the crowds and tried to engage in hand-to-hand combat. They also hauled a dumpster into the street and dragged it around in circles for no apparent reason. The Free Speech Rally defended themselves, and it was a fairly one-sided fight.

The Antifa like to imagine themselves as dashing heroes from a pulp novel, but in reality they are mostly spoiled kids pretending to be revolutionaries. Antifa was routed and threw bricks during their retreat. There were celebrations afterwards, such as the one pictured in this article’s photo, where two attendees stood atop the aforementioned dumpster holding a Pepsi can (in reference to Pepsi’s controversial advertisement).

The Berkeley Police Department mostly stood back during the event while the violence was happening, only making about 20 arrests. Although this has not been confirmed, it may be because the mayor of Berkeley ordered them to stand down because of his connections to the Antifa-like BAMN (short for “By Any Means Necessary”), whose website encourages no-platforming.

Similar to the February 1 riots, I recommend watching raw footage of the event in order to understand what happened. Tim Pool uploaded a 2-hour livestream on YouTube, but other channels show highlights. This is important because many outlets have tried to downplay Antifa’s violence or pin the blame on the Free Speech Rally.

The Antifa have already escalated from shooting Roman candles at buildings to throwing explosives into crowds. Antifa forums like r/anarchism are already talking about organizing so they can become more effective in combat. They’re spoiled rich college kids, but so were the Weather Underground, the German Red Army Faction, and Red Brigades, whose terrorism ignited Italy’s “Years of Lead” in the 1970s. It is only a matter of time before they start using dynamite or plastic explosives. Right-wing groups are escalating in turn, bringing weapons to defend themselves in eager anticipation for brawls.

With Ann Coulter’s speech at UC Berkeley and Yiannopolous’s planned week-long event there, future violence by the Antifa is almost guaranteed. We can only count the days until fists become bullets and firecrackers become nail bombs.

Reginald Walden, Staff Writer

Reginald Walden is a junior majoring in Marine Biology with a minor in Communications. He is a member of the Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society, Marine Biology...

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Antifa Attack Free Speech at Berkeley Rally