By Jonah Bennett
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin said Monday it’s time to classify Antifa as a gang because of the brutal attacks against peaceful supporters of President Donald Trump Sunday.
Previously lionized by mainstream journalists as largely peaceful counter-protests to neo-Nazis, the press made an abrupt about face after more than 100 masked Antifa activists dressed in black showed up at a demonstration at Martin Luther King Civic Center Park on Sunday and began beating unarmed Trump supporters.
The attacks have prompted Arreguin to speak out against Antifa and call for the group to be classified as a gang, KPIX 5 reports.
“I think we should classify them as a gang,” said Arreguin. “They come dressed in uniforms. They have weapons, almost like a militia, and I think we need to think about that in terms of our law enforcement approach.”
“I think we are going to have to think ‘big picture’ about what is the strategy for how we are going to deal with these violent elements on the left as well,” Arreguin added.
The mayor noted that he also condemned violent elements on the right, as well.
However, organizers of the protest refused to disavow Antifa elements within their ranks.
“White supremacists and fascists are not welcome. And if the state is not going to protect us — and if they do not — then we are going to protect ourselves and welcome those who stand with us,” said Sara Kershner, who works with the National Lawyers Guild, a public interest law group.
Despite claims from Kershner, members attending the rally aggressively disavowed white supremacy. The violence was so one-sided that The Washington Post wrote a piece about the rally with the headline: “Black-clad Antifa members attack peaceful right-wing demonstrators in Berkeley.”
Aside from Arreguin, Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham called Tuesday for Antifa to be labeled a terrorist organization.
“You go on YouTube, you can watch all of these videos. It is scary,” Ingraham said. “And we should also urge everyone to consider pressing this idea of declaring Antifa a terrorist organization.”
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