Four hours into the protest against a conservative pundit’s appearance at the University of California (UC) Berkeley in the US, violence escalated when police began pushing protesters down Telegraph Avenue.
Protesters and supporters of Ben Shapiro began gathering at 4pm on Bancroft Way on Thursday, many having traveled hours by car or plane.
While many of them seemed excited to see Shapiro or to speak against him, an equal number simply wanted to experience the type of action they woud read about in the news.
“I’m excited to see antifa in action,” Justin Jackson, a 19-year-old student at Chico State University who had driven three hours to the event, said.
“Antifa and Shapiro in the same day is exciting,” said his friend Liam Thomson, referring to a broad group of autonomous anti-fascist activist people in the US by using the term antifa.
But by the end of the night, antifa had not appeared.
Well over a hundred police from all over the state spread over the two blocks. In the hours leading up to Shapiro’s speech they arrested two protesters.
Twenty-year-old Hannah Benjamin spit on a police officer and was arrested on felonious assault charges.
Sarah Roark, 44, was also arrested for holding a sign that police considered a banned weapon because it was too large.
Authorities said several further arrests were made later.
Shapiro also made points about the virtue of following a traditional lifestyle and of self-reliance.
US is the “greatest place that ever existed” he said, adding that everyone who was a “failure” had only themselves to blame.
Shapiro is known for his divisive political views. He is against anti-abortion rights and has spoken out against US President Donald Trump and Steve Bannon, Trump’s former senior counselor.