Rallies Across America Increase Political Tension

Rallies+Across+America+Increase+Political+Tension

Jenna Lyons, SFGATE

Christian Touhey, Politics Editor

Counter protests against discrimination, drawing hundreds of activists, grew violent in Berkeley last weekend after a far-right supremacist rally was cancelled..

These commotions occurred only days after white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia resulted in three  deaths and dozens of fatal injuries. The event  highlighted the increasing racial tensions in America and how easily they can turn violent. In Berkeley, the divisions were more stark than ever as protesters marched, toting signs saying “No To White Nationalism” and “End Racism.”

Aidan Drews, a senior at Woodside High School, attended the Berkeley rally alongside family members with hope to support the movement against hate in America. He acknowledges it was an interesting spectacle to attend that opened his eyes to issues he didn’t know existed.

“It was very hectic, and I’ve never been to a political event before in my life,” Drews commented. “Clearly there were two crowds protesting very different ideas, and no matter what the subject is, that never ends well. I saw more than three  fights break out in a short amount of time.”

While there were no fatal injuries reported from the occasion in Berkeley, numerous viral cell-phone videos show pepper spray attacks alongside brawls with weapons such as  metal bats.  Jack Rosenthal, an 88-year old Holocaust survivor, spoke to the Washington Post about how these rallies remind him of horrors he experienced before.

“We must know that it is possible for people to stand up and do the right thing, even when they are surrounded by evil,” Rosenthal told the Washington Post. “This is what we are seeing at these recent white-supremacy rallies around the nation today, and you can never stop trying to end it with peace.”

Amidst this division, all eyes have been on President Trump, who responded to the recent events by condemning all forms of hate in America. Numerous news outlets criticized Trump for his delayed response on the issue and for blaming “both sides.”

“We condemn, in the strongest possible terms,  this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides,” Trump tweeted last week.