Counter-protesters try to take a large piece of wood away from a participant in a rally in support of President Trump at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Berkeley, California, on March 4, 2017. (Photo by AP)
Supporters and opponents of US
president Donald Trump
have clashed during a rally in Berkeley, California.
In a day of nationwide rallies in 28 states on Saturday, supporters of Trump clashed with counter-protesters at a park in Berkeley, throwing punches and hitting one another with wooden sticks. Trump supporters fired pepper spray as riot police stood at a distance.
The total crowd of both supporters and detractors in Berkeley was estimated between 200 and 300 people.
Three people were injured during the clashes and five arrested, police said.
The violence comes a month after protesters shut down a speech by a far-right commentator at the University of California, Berkeley, by lighting fires and smashing windows.
A demonstrator in support of President Trump fires pepper spray at a group of counter-protesters during a pro-Trump rally in Berkeley, California on March 4, 2017 (Photo by Reuters).
Smaller skirmishes also broke out in other parts of the US, including in Minnesota and Nashville, on Saturday.
In many towns and cities, the pro-Trump “Spirit of America” rallies did not draw more than a few hundred people.
Trump sparked widespread anger during his campaign with derogatory comments against women, immigrants, Muslims and minority groups.
Since his inauguration on January 20, Trump has faced nearly non-stop protests and rallies, including mass demonstrations focused on women’s rights that drew millions of people around the world on the day after he was sworn in.
Trump signed an executive order on January 27, which has been put on hold by federal courts, restricting entry from seven Muslim-majority countries.
His controversial immigration policies, along with a series of federal raids, have alarmed immigrant rights’ groups and sparked protests in cities and airports across the US.
In mid-February, protesters rallied for two consecutive days against Trump’s immigration policies in cities across the US.
Thousands of protesters marched and many businesses closed during “A Day Without Immigrants” to highlight the importance of foreign-born naturalized citizens.
Foreign-born American citizens account for 13 percent of the US population, or more than 40 million people.