NPR

Bay Area Braces For Protests: 'Charlottesville Has Raised The Stakes'

Police are preparing for far-right rallies this weekend in San Francisco and Berkeley, what one supporter calls "kicking the hornets' nest." Scores of counter-protests are planned.
A right-wing activist wears a spartan helmet during a rally at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park on April 27 in Berkeley, Calif. Protesters gathered in response to the cancellation of a speech by American conservative political commentator Ann Coulter at the university. Source: Justin Sullivan

Just two weeks after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., left one woman dead and ignited a national debate about racism, symbols of white supremacy and free speech, several alt-right groups are rallying this weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area, unnerving residents, police and politicians.

"Charlottesville has raised the stakes," says Jesse Arreguin, mayor of Berkeley, Calif. "So we are very concerned about any violence that could happen in our city."

It's no coincidence far-right groups are targeting liberal cities long known for their embrace of leftist politics, free-speech and diversity. Many on the alt-right see the West Coast's urban areas as centers of effete, out-of-touch, intolerant elitist "snowflakes."

"Talk about kicking the hornets' nest! This is sure to be a barn burner," " and. Chapman, who is popular among alt-right groups, fought protesters in Berkeley in March 4, and was and other crimes. On Friday, he was "to have no weapons of any kind — sticks, knives, pepper spray."

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