While covering Sunday’s “Rally Against Hate” in Berkeley, California, today, Reveal host Al Letson witnessed a man being attacked by a group of protesters. The man was balled up on the ground, fending off blows from several people. Al jumped in front of the batterers, protecting the man from further injury. On this special episode of Reveal, Al talks about what happened and how the battles between right- and left-wing protesters are playing out.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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State of reporting in p r ex. This is a special edition of reveal a reality, and this weekend every Cisco Bay Area will base, was supposed to be the sight of rallies by right wing groups and counter protesters on the left. My colleague will careless has been covering these groups for reveal so will lie with the plan was this weekend, so Ronnie the people that was going to be the biggest one was going to be on Saturday morning, and this was cold by a group called Patriot prayer out of Portland, headed by this guy Joey Gibson. It was a century builders, a free. Each rally came right on the hills, a Charlottesville and the organised, even admitted it was really just kind of way to provoke the political left in San Francisco is. It was going to be a group of kind of controversial speakers when they come together out of park the sun,
was arranged by a transgender woman by the name of Amber comings, and that was billed as a no to Marxism in America Rally. It was very clearly meant again as a provocation. It was organised by people to the rights of the political spectrum and it was really a way to kind of upset the left. So I want to back up a little bit because on Saturday of this figure out, it was supposed to happen, didn't actually happen, fizzled out right, and not only did it not happen, but it changed locations. A few times you had thousand so people marching through San Francisco some of the militant a lot of them just add a kind of expressed good old San Francisco peace love. I'm looking for where these people were, and they kept going to different places naked, never find them eventually get. Some of them did turn out late evening, flanked by another police better. Yet the event didn't quite goes plan.
And so on Sunday morning, we had a whole team reporters out and about ready to see what happened, including reporter, Michael Montgomery. So Michael tell us what you saw so He arrived in the morning at a place called Aloni Park, which is a few blocks from downtown Berkeley This is an essential but you had is a lot of protesters, ostensibly counter protesters groups from the programme. The left who had arrived to me showing to quote defend their community from the right wing from Nazis from races from fashion, You know keeping in mind that Charlottesville is not that far in the past and the far from Charlottesville there is actually a lot of emotion. I mean people wanted to make a showing. They felt that there would be people they perceived as fascist coming to TAT, and they sort of felt they wanted to defend their community, and that was sort of the general slogan and an
we're getting in the morning. You guys correct me if I'm wrong, but it felt pretty for lack of better term genteel re like it was a typical of which you would think of a Berkeley protest. Alot of older people very much crowd. I saw a couple kids out there I mean, I wouldn't say like it was a family event, but definitely there would definitely families there Yet there was a moment actually our when that changed and it was it about noon, and I was ass. You walking up with a young man, a member of the anti for a guy, but the name of Vincent Yokul send it was ass. He rested in Berkeley and on on April fifteenth- and I was talking to him- there is a large part of anti US, sir we're just looking. I'd say about a hundred people, all dressed in black, just marching towards the main crowd. That's pretty intimidating, rather than that of all illogical to me that it like a pride sign of good, you see a bunch of your brothers and sisters, walking up, dress, ready,
it's good you all that and what we describe in theirs. We suddenly saw this kind of poor tune of black clad protesters coming watching round the corner and very tight formation, some of them banging on their shields waving flags. When I looked am. I thought they were right, police coming at eight. I took a quick glance and I thought, oh, my God, the Berkeley places gonna try to shut this thing down, but now They were the Antigua, the Anti fascists orbs. What some people call a black block coming down to join the larger rally that was getting ready to march to downtown Berkeley, so I that's right, Aloni part and the Black Box has just shown up I'm at the civic centre. The police presence was really heavy, are they? everywhere and they were in their ride gear, and I notice that all the police officers had these long betimes instead of the shore buttons you normally see and they had guns at what they had issued off tear gas, some of whom had
yes Mass on some of them had I protection, but they look like they were ready for business, and the cops with, because I mean that's been the sight of previous protest before previous violent protests of brave out and move on them today, but also because that's where the right way, if they were gonna be anywhere, they were gonna, be there, that's where they want to gather and that's where the fights we're gonna happen. But clearly it wasn't happening because the protesters and the people of Berkeley just came out swamp airport and until the black black came down, it was pretty civil event. I mean people just talking to each other? I just want to look in your eyes. Look at my eyes. Wondering when you look in my eyes. You see someone is different than you can you make in connection with other people, but you see, real people were marching for peace and freedom in action really wants peace and freedom,
At some point, the police decided to let the Black box come into the park where most of the other protesters were and people just kind of jumped over the barricades and came through, and then the police so move to the flank. At that point now ass, he saw a couple of people said earlier that morning, who were sitting on the right side of things who were more kind of conservatives who had showed tat. They do the protest. I saw one I'm getting chased out by a group of protesters. He eventually the police, formed a ring around him. They grabbed his make Amerika great again hat with through the throwing up in the air, so you saw basic, whatever stragglers there were from the original protest, laugh they got out of their pretty quickly and then Joe. It gives him showed up now he's the guy that scheduled. The protests
who's gonna, be in San Francisco on Saturday. That actually never happen, and this guy is Lightning rod he is there to enter Denies the left and Joey was driving forward. Unapologetic he had his friend tiny behind them. Tiny is, is a big guy. He's got these shoulder pads on and under the shoulder pads he's got this white t shirt that has kind of an american flag, the active height They were the bay on the end of a hook and someone had just thrown it into the ocean into up a pile of fish in those fish started. Following that big so I'm running with Joey Film
him as everybody is coming through. The barricades and people are trying to reach him and swing Adam, but but they're, just a little bit out of range and tiny grabs, Joey and the two of them kind of make their way towards the police, in the police are just stand there really stoic and don't want to let them pass, but eventually the police. Let them men when they see like this whole group of people's coming towards him right when they grab Joey. I heard something else to my left and I turn and I saw another guy now- I dont know if he was with Julia TINY and I think he might have been an he tripped or somebody tripped him, and he was the ground and surrounding him was like four or five guys, and I saw someone take a fly. Poland swing it down and just hit him really hard, and when I looked behind them I saw a whole mass of people that we're coming from the yard into the neighbourhood. Now the
are all the left wing. They, both Black box there, just regular protesters as well, just coming in a lot of them. Probably did you see what was going on with this guy on the ground, but you know my head. Automatically. I just thought- oh, my god like there's like this whole little army of people, that they will end up, killed in the sky, and then I just jumped on top of him and held them, and I put my back up to shield him because somebody was hitting him with a flagpole. Another person was punching in kicking and I got punched and kick like once or twice and other major like every time they hit me when they realise whose me they kind of pull their punch a little bit. So I didn't get injured. Those cops were still there
sure they could see what was happening, but they weren't doing anything at all in all this happened like really quickly and the whole time I thought at first I thought, oh, my god, they're gonna kill him, and then I thought, oh, my god, kill me and then it just suddenly stopped. Then I believe, a tear gas grenade was fired. I and a kind of disperse the area, but it was it was, is really really and since you, I was kind of on the fringes of that, and I mean your instinct was to follow my instinct, I'm not ashamed to admit, was to turn and flee. Like I turned, and I got out of their end- and you know I've actually talk to some of them. People who are involved in that attack, or at least one of the people that was involved in that attack and die. He kind of told me how he thought it went. Did you learn any punches they are in the middle there's a lot of
I was going around now that the police didn't properly protect the protesters that came to back the let's be very clear. The were hours during which the wood schools of police, they're, ready and willing to protect anybody. Who was talking the moment that they laughed twenty minutes later. This guy arrives come looking for a fight. Only when we talked about Joe Gibson You you do wonder how much of his activities are really just about getting Joey Gibson, more publicity, it's also, all about getting negative publicity focused on these far left black block anti fascist protesters as well. They What are these people on the conservative side of politics in his country today? They say that those groups that those people who were MOSS, who show up who try to shut down protested. They are the real fascists, because there once that a silencing people who just want to get up and speak. You don't want to fight now that kind of breaks down when they show up obviously spoiling for a fight, which is what appears to have happened.
Under its calls for Anti fa. What, however, that define these anti fascist left wingers to be branded terrorist Trump mentioned I refer in one of his recent speeches, so it it it. You know, there's deftly alone you're a narrative on the conservative right about Antigua and what they believe means. Michael. There were very few incidents of violence here the one major one like. Obviously I was a part of, but on the whole this was a pretty peaceful. Ouch? There was a lot of antagonism. There was a lot of anger in the air, but violence itself. You know with little sparks here, but it wasn't like an all out riot. The question I have is: do you think that people are now more willing to give violent when faced with rightwing cos Well, that's a really interesting question and I agree that most overwhelming number of the people who turned out families, older people- I mean it- were there for peaceful purposes to make a stand in their view
against racism, or Nazi is ever whatever thinking a lot about Charlottesville and what happened there. I do think that you, at least for the Bay area. There is some significance that this black block and tea for these people and black ready to fight were on the front lines were accepted as a kind of extension of that demonstration and that people say that if your time by defending your community aid have to turn out and not stay at home, like some city leaders were, were sang and be have to be ready to defend yourself or accept that there's gonna be people in your movement who that's gonna be job, and this was the black block in this case. So yes, in the berry context, I think something was shifting. Yeah I mean deftly Ebby. Is I've been working on a story? I stay about anti for for several weeks. I've been talking to you feel totally people pre Charlottesville. I talk to these people pre these protests and even a month ago. This was very much a kind of a fringe of a friend
grab now when they show up people know who they are. People are starting to use that term more more a month ago is dead, to find anybody who was self identifying as anti fa. Now people are riding on their helmets and and waving flags and all the rest of it. You say more more Facebook pages like pop up all over the place, so this is becoming a real man, It was always there was there, but it was fragmented. It was in these different groups. It would show up. You know two or three here a couple here now this sort of this banner that they are getting underneath, and we saw that really started today. So before this, like white supremacist, were bad people who protests against them were good. But with the rise of the Anti WAR movement, you know what we have now. Is it? Is there an equivalency? I don't think there's an equivalent sea, because you have to look at the reason that these people are doing what they do. When you talk to
young, angry man and most of them, a man who had coming out in doing these things that doing it because they see that their pro actively trying to what they say is defend their communities. So it's very different to a group say the all right, for example, who are who are true to spread their message and change their turn. A fundamentally change the rules in the laws of our country. Now the far right have tried very hard to paint anti fought as anarchists. Ok, another all anarchists within this group. No question but antifraud doesn't stated goal of bringing anarchism to America. They don't, then I'll. Try kick certain people out there, literally the vast majority of people who told you that just about one thing and that saying to certain people, we don't want in our community we dont when you say these things and we're not gonna. Let you do that and if you come here, we're gonna. Kick you out us thanks for coming and mister we'll Carla's reporter Workin on the hate beat, and Mr Michael,
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Transcript generated on 2019-12-21.