Patriot Prayer on U.C. Campus Overshadowed by Bomb Scare (PHOTOS)
A small group of conservative activists gathered on the steps of Sproul Hall at the University of California at Berkeley today at noon, outnumbered by counter-demonstrators and vastly outnumbered by police.
Initially, there were less than a half-dozen people shouting at each other, although the gathering slowly grew. Eventually there were dozens of demonstrators and counter-demonstrators at the scene, although in many
cases it was not clear which side many individuals were on.
Patriot Prayer organizer Joey Gibson was present, as was Kyle Chapman, better known in the alt-right movement as “Based Stickman.”
A group of conservatives wearing “Make America Great Again” hats chanted, “We will overcome.”
Counter-protesters chanted “no Trump, no KKK, no fascist U.S.A.”
An activist from the organization By Any Means Necessary accused the police of cooperating with the conservative activist, saying “they have not arrested the fascists… they have selectively targeted the people standing up against fascists.”
The event was largely peaceful, although a report of a suspicious package prompted a bomb squad to respond to the scene around 12:45 p.m.
Police evacuated part of Sproul Plaza, but investigators eventually determined that the package posed no threat to the public and the bomb squad left the scene around 1:30 p.m.
Unrelated to the protest, the Nigerian Student Association was holding a planned event nearby with amplified music. When the conservative protest began to disperse, Chapman and a number of his supporters attemptedto join them but their path was blocked by students saying it was a private event and they were not welcome to attend.
Chapman and others attempted to film the gathering of primarily black students, but the people standing in their ways blocked their cameras using flyers that read, “This is Indian territory.”
A brief standoff ensued with alt-right activists on one side and the Nigerian Student Association and their allies on the other. Eventually police moved in to form a perimeter in between the two groups.
One man was detained and searched, but later released.
There were no arrests on campus related to the demonstration, UC Berkeley police Sgt. Nicolas Hernandez said.
The students dispersed around 1:55 p.m.
photo credit: DAVE BROOKSHER