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Clashes in Berkeley
Photo: AP
Trump supporters, detractors clash on day of solidarity rallies
Crowds gather in 28 states for 'Spirit of Ameria' rally in support of President Trump; demonstration in Berkeley, California turns violent, with 7 people injured and 10 arrested as protesters hit each other with wooden sticks and throw punches.

Supporters of Donald Trump clashed with counter-protesters at a rally in the famously left-leaning city of Berkeley, California, on a day of mostly peaceful gatherings in support of the US president across the country.

 

 

At a park in Berkeley, across the bay from San Francisco, protesters from both sides wearing goggles, motorcycle helmets, gas masks or with their face half-covered with bandanas pushed each other, threw punches and hit each other with the sticks holding their signs.

 

Video of the scattered fights shows smoke bombs being thrown at the crowd and at least one Trump supporter pepper-spraying a brawling group as police in riot gear stood at a distance.

 

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Seven people were injured in the clashes, including one who had teeth knocked out, but none needed or wanted to go to the hospital.

 

Some in the pro-Trump crowd, holding American flags, faced off against black-clad opponents. An elderly Trump supporter was struck in the head and kicked on the ground.

 

Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)
Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)

 

Organizers of the so-called Spirit of America rallies in at least 28 the country's 50 states had said they expected smaller turn-outs than the huge crowds of anti-Trump protesters that clogged the streets of Washington and other cities the day after the Republican's inauguration on January 20.

 

Support rally in Denver, Colorado (Photo: AP)
Support rally in Denver, Colorado (Photo: AP)

 

"There are a lot of angry groups protesting and we thought it was important to show our support," said Peter Boykin, president of Gays for Trump, who helped organize Saturday's rally in Washington.

 

Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)
Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)

 

In many towns and cities, the rallies did not draw more than a few hundred people. At some, supporters of the president were at risk of being outnumbered by small groups of anti-Trump protesters who gathered to shout against the rallies.

 

Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)
Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)

 

In Berkeley, the total crowd of both supporters and detractors numbered 200 to 300 people, police spokesman Byron White said. Three people were injured in the clashes.

 

Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: AP)
Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: AP)

  

Police made 10 arrests: five people were arrested for battery, four for assault with a deadly weapon and one for resisting arrest. Officers confiscated a dagger, metal pipes, bats, pieces of lumber and bricks.

 

Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)
Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)

 

One Trump supporter who took part in the violence came equipped with a baton, a gas mask and a shield emblazoned with the American flag.

 

White said police did break up fights between the two sides.

 

Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)
Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)

 

"We've made a number of arrests, it's one of those things where we monitor the situation and take action as necessary," he said.

 

Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)
Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)

 

The violence comes a month after mask-wearing protesters at the University of California, Berkeley, shut down a planned speech by a provocative far-right commentator by lighting fires and smashing windows.

 

Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)
Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)

 

On Saturday, smaller skirmishes broke out in other parts of the country.

 

In Minnesota, 400 Trump supporters packed the state capitol rotunda in St. Paul and were met by a smaller group of some 50 counter-demonstrators. Scuffles erupted and six counter-protesters were arrested on felony riot charges after they lit fireworks inside the Minnesota State Capitol and fled, police said.

 

Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)
Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)
 

 

In Nashville, Trump supporters and counter-protesters cursed at each other and occasionally made physical contact during a rally at the Tennessee Capitol, but state troopers broke up the fighting, according to the city's public radio station. 

 

Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Bill Miller said someone was arrested for stealing two Trump shirts, and an anti-Trump protester was arrested for trying to incite a riot and calling for violence.

 

Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)
Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)

 

Several Republican lawmakers and other figures spoke at the event.

 

One Trump opponent took another approach. He brought camping chairs, held a sign that said "Talk to a Democrat" and sat with Trump supporters to discuss their differences.

 

Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: AP)
Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: AP)

 

A rally at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus turned into a clash of words when Trump protesters shouted "No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA" over the supporters' "U-S-A" chants.

   

In the Washington state capital of Olympia, about 225 people attended the pro-Trump rally and a group of about 150 people against Trump staged a counter-protest. Four demonstrators were arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer. Authorities did not say if the people arrested were pro-Trump or anti-Trump.

 

Protester arrested in Olympia (Photo: AFP)
Protester arrested in Olympia (Photo: AFP)

 

Around 200 Trump backers rallied in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in support of Trump. Some held American flags and others wore "Make America Great Again" hats and Trump T-shirts.

 

Also in attendance were some 100 counter-protesters, who quietly marched in from a nearby parking lot carrying a banner with the words "No Hate in Our Town." Some wore tape over their mouths. They stood nearly silent behind a barricade.

 

Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)
Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)

 

About 300 people rallied in support of Trump in a gathering outside the Texas Capitol in Austin during rain, with some in the crowd toting umbrellas and wearing rain gear while carrying signs of support for Trump. Some of the marchers waved US flags.

 

One of the organizers, Jennifer Drabbant of Austin said there have been so many protests against Trump that she and others wanted to show there are people who support him.

 

Clashes in Austin (Photo: AP)
Clashes in Austin (Photo: AP)

 

Participants walked from Wooldridge Square Park to the state Capitol for a rally that began with a prayer and then featured pro-Trump speeches.

 

About 30 Trump supporters rallied at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis to denounce what they see as unfair treatment of the Republican president.

 

A local organizer, 61-year-old Patty Collins, of Indianapolis, said Trump's critics "aren't giving him a chance." A 34-year-old, James Arbogast, added about Trump detractors that it's "not business as usual in Washington, and they can't stand it."

 

Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)
Clashes in Berkeley (Photo: Reuters)

 

One attendee held a sign saying, "The silent majority stands with Trump." Some passing cars honked in support. Others shouted disapproval.

 

In Phoenix, several hundred people participated in the event held on a lawn at the State Capitol. Some participants wore pro-Trump shirts. A small group of protesters also were on hand.

  

Most rallies appeared to take place without any disruption or violence, like one outside the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, which drew about 200 Trump supporters on one side of the state Capitol while 100 critics gathered on another side. At one point, the president's fans shouted "get on the bus" and "go back to Mexico."

 

Support rally in Michigan (Photo: AP)
Support rally in Michigan (Photo: AP)

 

"How can anyone be disappointed with bringing back jobs? And he promised he would secure our borders, and that's exactly what he's doing," said Meshawn Maddock, one of the organizers of the rally.

 

Brandon Blanchard, 24, among a small group of anti-Trump protesters, said he had come in support of immigrants, Muslims and transgender people, groups that have been negatively targeted by Trump's rhetoric and policies.

 

"I feel that every American that voted for Trump has been deceived," Blanchard said.

 

Support rally outside Trump Tower in New York (Photo: AP)
Support rally outside Trump Tower in New York (Photo: AP)

 

More than 200 supporters of the president rallied in downtown San Diego.

 

"After this, I think people will take the hint," said former US Marine David Moore, 42, a participant in the rally. "It's okay to voice support for the president and the country."

 

Hundreds gathered in rallies on both ends of Pennsylvania to show support for President Trump.

 

Supporters waved signs and flags and listened to speeches during the rally in Bensalem's Neshaminy State Park in eastern Pennsylvania's Bucks County.

 

"They love their country and they love what Donald Trump represents, which is about making America first," organizer Jim Worthington said. "We are here to meet and make sure all Americans are prospering."

 

Support rally outside Trump Tower in New York (Photo: AP)
Support rally outside Trump Tower in New York (Photo: AP)

 

In northwestern Pennsylvania, about 100 people gathered at a square in downtown Erie for a similar demonstration.

 

"We've got to get the whole country united behind this man," said Richard Brozell, 75, who along with his wife braved the mid-20s temperatures and stiff wind chill to attend.

 

Linda Pezzino, a 52-year-old retired Erie cosmetologist, told the crowd that they had "turned Erie red on November 8," making Trump the first Republican presidential candidate to win Erie County since Ronald Reagan in 1984.

 

Support rally outside Trump Tower in New York (Photo: AP)
Support rally outside Trump Tower in New York (Photo: AP)

 

"Trump has done more in three weeks than Obama did in eight years! It's ridiculous!" she said.

 

In Palm Beach, Florida, where Trump is staying this weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort, the president's motorcade stopped and Trump stepped outside his car to wave at a crowd of dozens of supporters. A smaller group of protesters stood across the street.

 

In New York, about 200 people demonstrated their support for the president in front of Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan. A couple hundred supporters were chanting "U-S-A." One held a sign reading: "I am not a Democrat anymore." Another read: "Yes he is our president."

Support rally outside Trump Tower in New York (Photo: AP)
Support rally outside Trump Tower in New York (Photo: AP)

 

In Washington, about 150 people marched from the Washington Monument to Lafayette Square in front of the White House to show their support for the president.

 

 

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