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20 arrested as anti-Marxists, anti-fascists clash

Berkeley police arrested 20 people related to the “No to Marxism in America 2” rally and accompanying counterprotest Sunday afternoon around Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park.

The rally this afternoon drew rival anti-fascist and anti-Marxist protesters, some of whom carried weapons and threw fireworks, police said. Berkeley Fire paramedics treated and released three people who suffered minor injuries in various clashes, police said.

Police also said an “extremist element” from among a large group that marched past a city parking lot on Berkeley Way set a city-owned vehicle on fire, smashed windows of 21 other city-owned vehicles and slashed tires of several others. Three minor dumpster fires also were put out.

Amber Gwen Cummings organized the rally, which started at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park at noon. Cummings held a “No to Marxism” rally in the same park in August 2017; a man was beaten to the ground there, and other violent acts occurred.

As of 6 p.m. today, police had arrested the following people on suspicion of possessing a banned weapon: Javier Cruz-O’Connell, 27, of Berkeley; Jamie Louise Hill, 30, of Emeryville; Ericka Sokolower-Shain, 28, of Berkeley; Jeffrey Garten, 28, of Oakland; Andres Gonzalez, 35, of Oakland; Jason Wallach, 49, of Oakland; Kate Brenner, 69, of Oakland; Kristin Edith Koster, 50, of Berkeley; Sarena Lynette Perez, 39, of Oakland; David Siegfried Chou, 26, of Santa Cruz; Bella Podolsky, 27, of San Francisco, and Maria Lewis, 29, of Emeryville. Lewis and Chou are also suspected of working with others to commit a crime.

Additionally, Blake Griffith, 29, of Oakland, was arrested on suspicion of vandalism; Freddy Martinez, 31, of Berkeley, was arrested on suspicion of battery; and Thomas Parker, 22, of Berkeley and Caitlin Boyle, 27, of Oakland were arrested on suspicion of working with others to commit a crime.

The identities of some of those arrested had not been confirmed as of 6 p.m. today, police said via social media.

All Berkeley streets had been reopened by 6 p.m., by which time “normal police operations” had resumed.

Police are continuing to investigate any potential crimes stemming from the protests today. They seek photos from the public of anyone committing an alleged crime; upload them at

Police on Saturday released a lengthy list of items prohibited at the rally, noting, “These rules are intended to assist those wishing to peaceably express their First Amendment rights.”

Sticks, pipes, poles, lengths of lumber or wood, baseball bats, bricks, pepper spray, knives and firearms are some of the items banned at Civic Center and Ohlone parks.

At least 10 people were arrested in Cummings’ 2017 event. A fistfight took place between two people on Martin Luther King Jr. Way near Allston Avenue. A person dressed in black, the hallmark of the infamous Black Bloc, which advocates violence, destroyed another attendee’s camera.

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