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City Manager's Office
City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, (510) 981-7008

STAY SAFE AT DEMONSTRATIONS – SEPARATE YOURSELF FROM VIOLENCE
Don't get baited by provocateurs

Berkeley, California (Wednesday, April 26, 2017) - The University of California-Berkeley and the City of Berkeley will be working together to manage events that may take place Thursday afternoon on the UC campus. There are a number of things you, too, can do to stay safe.

Mass gatherings of any kind attract a broad variety of people and, inevitably, that means an array of different motives and intentions. The overwhelming majority come with a peaceful purpose.

However, in recent protests in Berkeley, we have seen a small portion who come seeking to hurt others or to destroy property. We have seen that individuals who come armed and armored use peaceful protesters as a cover for their violent actions. 

If you are at a demonstration and you see violence, separate yourself. Keep a distance from violence. If you can do so safely, report it to police.

This is the best way to keep yourself and others safe. It allows police to focus on and apprehend criminals while keeping bystanders safe. People with cameras who surround violent incidents can complicate the safety of other peaceful bystanders and impede police. When individuals commit violence surrounded by a peaceful crowd, police are always concerned about how the violence might spill over onto those who are not committing any crime whatsoever. 

Separating yourself from violence also prevents those individuals from making their actions the image of your cause.

Don't get baited by provocateurs. 

Language used to announce a protest may be effective at enticing supporters, luring counter-demonstrators or provoking conflict. Others lure people by promoting spectacle. But, if you don't know the person, groups or source personally, use caution. This is especially the case when groups do not use permits - a tool that indicates focus, organization and lawfulness. It's a tool that no one has obtained for Thursday. 

Consider whether the approach others advertise is the style and venue for you. Reaching out to organizations or individuals in need is an alternative to conflict. When people at an event act in a way that compromises your values and goals, separate yourself. 

The City of Berkeley, our police department and UC Berkeley will continue to develop our strategies to ensure safety for all at demonstrations, each of which has its own unique dynamics. Tactics used on both March 4 and April 15 resulted in no injuries to people uninvolved in the event and reports of minimal damage to properties. There was no significant impact to events throughout the downtown and City as a whole.

It is a challenge for police to ensure the safety of those who are reckless with their own safety. Nonetheless, police used strategies to try to do just that, even as combatants came armed and eager to fight. Police tactics led to the confiscation of dozens of weapons and 30 arrests. Berkeley Police are reviewing video footage to continue investigations, identify suspects, seek arrests and prosecute criminals. 

The event on Thursday April 27 has attracted the interest of other groups on various social media outlets as well as the attention of our local media outlets.  Our mission is to safeguard our community while facilitating the expression of the first amendment. We will work to identify, investigate, arrest and prosecute anyone who commits crimes in our community. That won't end when the event does.

Subscribe to alerts from the Berkeley Police Department using Nixle, a free text and email messaging service you can find at www.cityofberkeley.info/police/nixle. Create a login and tailor it to your needs.  Those updates will also be posted on our Twitter account, @berkeleypolice, where additional messages may be posted.

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