Berkeley considers ordinance to prevent violence ahead of planned protests

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- In light of what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia, the city of Berkeley is preparing for possible violence as two protests are scheduled for August 27.

Friday afternoon, council members are considering adopting an emergency ordinance to try to keep people safe. But not surprising is that that not everyone in Berkeley is on board.

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The emergency ordinance would give Berkeley's city manager the authority to allow police to enforce regulations, including confiscating weapons on the streets of Downtown Berkeley on August 27.

Two protests are scheduled on that day, led by a right-wing group called "No To Marxism in America" and a counter-protest will take place just a few blocks away.

"Once again, this is a tool, another tool that we should give our law enforcement to be able to effectively keep our community safe," Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin said.

During the last protest, police took away homemade weapons that were found inside the park, but if the ordinance passes, now police will be able to confiscate them on the streets as well.

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Not everyone in liberal Berkeley agrees with that plan. "I think this is a manufactured crisis and our city manager is using it, using the shock doctor to try to push things, additional power that she should not have," Berkeley resident James McFadden said.

But this UC Berkeley professor, who just moved here from Charlottesville, supports the ordinance. "The people who showed up in my former hometown are violent people who don't care about the law, they don't care if you are allowed to bring weapons or not. Police need to be there to enforce the safety of our city," Moriel Vandsburger said.

One of the members of "No Marxism in America" posted on her Facebook page, "We do not start the violence, period. If attacked, we attack back, but never first."

The mayor of Berkeley is concerned that the more violent groups may join both protests.

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