After a bloody weekend of violent clashes between free speech rally-goers and violent leftists, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin said Antifa, a violent leftist group comprised largely of anarchists and communists, should be considered a gang by law enforcement.
“We should classify them as a gang,” Arreguin told local CBS affiliate KPIX in a televised interview. “They come dressed in uniforms. They have weapons. They’re almost a militia. I think we should think about that when it comes to our law enforcement approach.”
Media and cell phone videos show Antifa members viciously attacked Donald Trump supporters attending the free speech rally last weekend. Dressed in black, Antifa members chased after and beat up people they suspected may have sympathies towards the so-called alt-right.
“We’re going to have think big picture about what’s the strategy on how we’re going to deal with these violent elements on the Left as well,” the mayor said. “We also need to hold accountable and encourage people not to associate with these extremists because it empowers them and gives them cover.”
Arreguin, a liberal, is also calling on the University of California-Berkeley to cancel the Free Speech Week event on campus next month featuring Milo Yiannopoulos and Ben Shapiro of the Daily Wire.
The university said it will not cancel the event as it’s being organized by students.