It was business as usual Saturday morning, at the Downtown Berkeley Farmers' Market. Romanesco is in season. Troubadour Mark Ray played his guitar for tips. Then, just a few steps away, at around one o’clock, hundreds of Trump supporters and Trump protesters gathered.
Screaming confrontations broke out into one-on-one fistfights. Somebody launched blue smoke bombs. Pro-Trump march organizer Rich Black tried to calm his group.
“Take a knee!” he yelled. “We are non violent! We do not start conflict. Take a knee! Let the police do their jobs.”
About 40 police officers wearing riot helmets and carrying batons watched from the sidelines.
Stacey Kaplan, a Trump supporter from Novato, wore a small canister of pepper spray on a strap around her wrist.
“I will defend myself if I have to,” she said. “But to me, I want to stand for my country. I want to stand for the President. I want to stand for religious liberty. I want to stand for all these things, and that's why I'm here.”
Before Saturday, Eva Peters, from Danville, had never been to a political protest. Now she feels compelled.
“There are so many people trying to destroy his presidency, and trying to make sure he doesn't get his policies through," she explained. “We just want to show our support.”
No plans for future marches have been announced, but Peters said this will probably be the first of many marches for Trump that she will attend.
“I don't think it’s ending anytime soon,” she said.