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

Seek alternative ways to counter-protest

Berkeley, California (Wednesday, August 16, 2017) - An August 27 rally promoted for downtown has drawn attention and concern in light of national events. The best response for those seeking to safeguard our community is to stay away.

Doing so prevents those on the fringe from garnering attention to their causes, which is their primary goal.  It also allows police to focus resources on those who might do damage to others or to the City.

Please do not create alternative events near downtown Berkeley. Even if peaceful, nearby counter-events take police officers away from those intent on committing violence or damage.

What we know about August 27 is this: an individual created an event page on a social media account. It's billed as "No to Marxism." No permit has been sought, nor has one been granted.

Events in Charlottesville, Virginia focused on confederate history have made many concerned that this August 27 event is similar. There's no evidence of organizational connections between those events and this one.

These events pose no threat to our community's values. Berkeley has a long-tradition of inclusion across lines of race, gender, nation of origin and sexual orientation. Outside protesters come and go, but our values do not waver.

In recent events, we have seen individuals come armed and armored for violence - and use peaceful protesters as a cover for violent actions. You can help by separating yourself from violence.

Extremists use language to stir up supporters and provoke counter-protesters - generating the conflict that creates publicity for their cause. The best way to deny them the attention they seek is to not engage and avoid such events entirely.

In an age of social media, there are many ways to assert your values and speak to the causes you support. Reaching out to organizations or individuals in need is an alternative to conflict.

Stay away from conflict. There are many alternative ways to respond.

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