After local Berkeley, California, progressives started urging followers to don masks and attack Trump supporters who were planning a weekend rally at the city’s Civic Center Park, operators of the Berkeley Ecology Center Farmers Market felt it necessary to cancel the market that weekend.
The farmers market feared for the safety of shoppers due to the likely clash of leftists and Trump supporters.
A group of Trump supporters had announced its intention to hold a “Patriots Day Free Speech” rally on Saturday, April 15.
But, the free speech rally has been labeled a “racist,” “Nazi,” or “alt-right” rally by its opponents, some of whom began passing around fliers urging leftists to put on masks and disrupt the conservatives.
Berkeley’s so-called “antifa” group posted a message to Facebook demanding that members and supporters “occupy the park” to shut down the free speech of the Patriot’s Day rally.
“These fascists are coming to our backyard in an attempt to scare us off the streets, and they hope to build on this success. What we do, or do not do, on the 15th will have ramifications across the country,” the violence-prone antifa activists bloviated. The group also instructed members to bring masks to wear.
But, as both sides advertised their plans, farmers market operators became concerned that the two sides may end up in a clash and canceled their weekend market day over safety concerns.
Ecology Center executive director Martin Bourque issued a statement about the cancellation to the alternative local paper, the East Bay Express.
We are deeply saddened that political confrontations have escalated this far. In a peace-loving City with such a long non-violent tradition, it is terrible that the only responsible course of action is to close market this Saturday. We have to be very cautious, as there are usually hundreds of shoppers, including children and elders, at our markets.
We’ve been working closely with the City of Berkeley. They’ve committed to additional support for the market, but the situation is unpredictable, and things may happen that are out of their control. We appreciate the police department’s restraint and what a challenge it is to protect both free speech and public safety today.
The Ecology Center Farmer’s Markets are a safe, welcoming and healthy environment for the community. While this is a real financial blow to many farmers, we can not put a price on safety.
Many of these patriot rallies have been disrupted by progressive groups claiming they stand against “Nazis.” Violence invariably started by the liberal groups has been seen across the country.
But the patriot group has gone to pains to urge members to avoid violence at all costs.
“Just a friendly reminder to everyone who will be at this event. We have been labeled by our opposition as racists along with a whole bunch of other ‘ists’ of some sort,” organizer Chris Tilton said on his Facebook post:
It is imperative that while there we project a friendly and welcoming environment the reflects our patriotism and pride in our country. There should be no shouts of “go back to Mexico,” please keep profanity and shit talking to an absolute minimum. Show up, have fun, meet and greet fellow patriots, let the security guys handle the opposition. Love you all and God Bless.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.