Berkeley Tallies Cost for Latest Right-Wing Protest and Counterprotest

Berkeley police keep the bulk of hundreds of counterprotesters from Civic Center Park on Sunday.  (Sara Hossaini/KQED)

Update, Monday 8:30 a.m.: The Berkeley Police Department gave this post-protest tally of arrests and damage in Sunday's right-wing rally downtown and the much larger counterprotest that greeted it.

  • 20 people taken into custody, mostly on charges of possession of banned weapons -- the city published a long list of what it wouldn't allow people to carry into the area around the planned protest gatherings. Other charges included "working with others to commit a crime," vandalism and battery.
  • Police said "an extremist element" in the counterprotest was responsible for damaging 21 city vehicles in a public parking lot on Berkeley Way. The vehicles were described as "smashed," with tires slashed. One vehicle in the lot, immediately across the street from a fire station, was set on fire, police said.

Original post: The city of Berkeley braced itself for a right-wing rally that never quite took shape, but that doesn't mean the city is off the hook.

Hundreds of counterprotesters took to the streets chanting "Nazis, go home!" -- far outnumbering the self-described anti-Marxist protesters who had planned to stage at event at Civic Center Park. The anti-Marxist had a chant of their own: "No communism, no pedophiles, no child sacrifice!"

City officials have been planning all week to prevent an outburst of violence that broke out last year at a number of similar rallies when protesters and counterprotesters faced off on the city streets. Those events included one last August put on by the organizer behind Sunday's rally, Amber Gwen Cummings.

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With an eye toward avoiding such a repeat of last summer's violence, the City Council passed a special ordinance banning metal pipes, baseball bats and any item that could be used to riot. And Berkeley police barricaded Civic Center Park and surrounding streets.

In the end, only about a dozen right-wing activists showed up. Berkeley police had arrested 17 people and confiscated a number of weapons near the end of the rally Sunday, and the counter-protest remained peaceful.

But the city is still on the hook for the cost. City spokesperson Matthai Chakko said the city won't have a final cost until it tallies up the resources spent.

"There's equipment, there's extra officers, people from our Fire Department," says Chakko. "We have staff from a number of city departments managing this."

Chakko says the city spent about $1 million on last year's protests.