Petition for Non-Violence in Berkeley
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During the first half of 2017 the far right attempted to hold rallies in Berkeley. Because of previous violent encounters, Berkeley has become “ground zero” in the right’s campaign to fight for what they deem “free speech” in this city. We join with many others in detesting the racist and white nationalist speech that is expressed at these rallies: African Americans, immigrants and other groups in our society are targeted, and they need and deserve our support.
Although civic authority and law enforcement have been finding it difficult in cities like Berkeley to protect both public safety and the right to protest, more can and should be done. When extreme right-wing rallies are held in Berkeley, we the undersigned request that the city’s Mayor, City Council members, City Manager, and Police enact a policy to minimize violence. Appropriate means to achieve this end include: Use the city permit issuing process to physically separate the two sides – the far-right protestors and the opposition to them. Permits to conduct protest and counter-protest rallies should separate the two groups by at least a quarter of a mile.
- Use the city permit issuing process to physically separate the two sides – the far-right protestors and the opposition to them. Permits to conduct protest and counter-protest rallies should separate the two groups by at least a quarter of a mile.
- Use standard non-violent crowd control tactics to keep the two groups separate, including the use of sturdy, mobile barriers, and checkpoints to disarm protestors (disallowing guns, knives, sticks, bottles, etc.). Police officers should place themselves between, and if necessary move to stay physically between, the two sides.
- Intervene to prevent or halt all physical fighting and assault engaged in by participant individuals or groups. Police officers should make arrests if violation of the law occurs, and should do so as non-violently as is possible.
A policy of this kind will help to prevent violence in political demonstrations taking place in Berkeley.
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