Anarchists at the Berkeley riot punched me in the face and tried to steal my phone

This is what I saw as the Milo protest turned violent

I arrived at the Milo protest soon after 6 p.m.

Initially it was peaceful — a large crowd of people, many adults as well from around the community — holding signs and chanting.

Then a group of between 20 and 40 people in black masks, seemingly college-aged, showed up to the event and started pulling away at the barriers.

Some of the peaceful protesters backed away, a few joined in, but many were cheering. The people dressed in black brought out bags filled with stones, bricks, and sticks. They started hurling rocks and sticks toward the student center.

The rocks and sticks hit some people. Soon after that they began charging at the student centers glass windows with steel barricades and bashing the glass with baseball bats. The glass eventually shattered.

As I was recording the protesters doing all this at close range, one of them tried to grab my phone. I put it in my pocket and ran away but she followed me and a few protesters followed me and hit me several times on the head with their fists and sticks. The first hit can be seen in my footage.

Eventually, I got up and sprinted away and lost them in the crowd.

The cops seemed to have less of a presence. They seemed to have backed away from the second floor railing to figure out what to do about the violence.

There was a generator with a tall rod-like pillar right outside.The protesters knocked down the generator in the direction of the crowd. As they were throwing flares and fireworks toward the police, they put the flares inside the generator, which caught on fire.

The fire soon filled a large area and people backed away and continued to throw things. The trees around also began to catch on fire.

At this time, a few fights broke out and physical violence ensued, I saw one man, his face bleeding, get punched repeatedly by the protestors. I also saw student protesters who had been peaceful earlier in the evening cheering at the actions of those in black.

The cops initially started to fire non-lethal bullets and tear gas into the crowd. Someone was hit directly by the bullet and went down and needed medical attention.

The fire continued to burn larger and larger and a fire alarm went off.

I saw several heated debates about free speech which escalated to physical violence.

I saw one of the protesters asking someone if they had a ticket to the Milo event. When he responded affirmatively, the black masked members formed a group and beat the man and other ticket holders.

After this, the protesters wearing black masks carried flags and brought in speakers and blasted music. Everyone, including students, started dancing and chanting.

Numerous Antifa members and college students were overheard talking about looking for a fight.The police told them to leave otherwise they would have to use tear gas and batons to make the crowd disperse.

They repeatedly gave the crowd warnings over 90 minutes but the protesters didn’t comply. During this time, the police continued to fire tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd, but the crowd still did not disperse.

The police had guns trained on the crowd of protesters.

There was one altercation I saw between a group of protesters and police officers in riot gear. I saw the black masked protesters hit a female student, leaving a pool of blood on the ground.

UC Berkeley