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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, (510) 981-7008

Separate yourself from violence and don't get baited by provocation

Berkeley, California (Thursday, April 13, 2017) - The City of Berkeley is planning to manage a demonstration and counter-demonstration promoted for Saturday morning and afternoon at Civic Center Park. There are a number of things you, too, can do to stay safe.

Mass gatherings of any kind attract a broad variety of people and, inevitably, that means an array of different motives and intentions. The overwhelming majority come with a peaceful purpose. 

However, in recent protests in Berkeley, we have seen a small portion who come seeking to hurt others or to destroy property. We have seen that individuals who come armed and armored use peaceful protesters as a cover for their violent actions.

If you are at a demonstration and you see violence, separate yourself. Keep a distance. If you can do so safely, report it to police.

This is the best way to keep yourself and others safe, and it allows police to intervene safely. When individuals commit violence surrounded by a peaceful crowd, police are always concerned about how the violence might spill over onto those who are not committing any crime whatsoever.

Separating yourself from violence also prevents those individuals from making their actions the image of your cause. 

Don't get baited by provocateurs.

Language used to announce a protest may be effective at enticing supporters, luring counter-demonstrators or provoking conflict. But, if you don't know the person, groups or source personally, use caution. This is especially the case when groups do not use permits - a tool that indicates focus, organization and lawfulness. It's a tool that no one has sought for Saturday.  

Consider whether the approach others advertise is the style and venue for you. When people at an event act in a way that compromises your values and goals, separate yourself.

The City of Berkeley and our police department will continue to develop our strategies to ensure safety for all at demonstrations, each of which has its own unique dynamics.

On Saturday April 15, groups are anticipated to start arriving in the morning. The event has attracted the interest of other groups on various social media outlets as well as the attention of our local media outlets.  

A March 4 event with similar groups had no spillover outside of Civic Center Park - with no reports of injuries, damage to property or significant impact to events throughout the downtown and City as a whole. Berkeley Police arrested 10 people that day and worked to identify several more involved afterward, yielding even more arrest warrants. All but one of the arrestees on March 4 came from outside Berkeley.

Our mission for April 15 is to safeguard our community while facilitating the expression of the first amendment. We will work to identify, investigate, arrest and prosecute anyone who commits crimes in our community. That won't end when the event does.

Subscribe to alerts from the Berkeley Police Department using Nixle, a free text and email messaging service you can find at www.cityofberkeley.info/police/nixle. Create a login and tailor it to your needs.  Those updates will also be posted on our Twitter account, @berkeleypolice, where additional messages may be posted.


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