April 27 Rally Concludes Peacefully

(Berkeley) -- Mayor Jesse Arreguín issued the following statement Friday morning following a highly anticipated series of rallies and protests on the UC Berkeley campus and in Berkeley’s Civic Center Park that took place Thursday:

“Headed into Thursday’s highly anticipated rallies and protests, some said that we had to choose between free speech and public safety—but that was always a false choice. As mayor, my mandate is to protect free speech, and to protect public safety. We were never willing to trade one for another—and on Thursday, we protected both.

I’m proud that the University, the City, and our community stood shoulder-to-shoulder and allowed those with differing views to come and say their piece. We may disagree with what they said, but we’ll forever defend their right to say it. We just had one rule: do it peacefully. No violence, no vandalism. End of story. As my administration prepared for Thursday’s events, our priority—and our strategy—was to make sure that we protect people from harm. We were prepared to put our foot down against the extremists and provocateurs who sought to turn our city into Fight Club, and I’m extremely glad that Thursday’s protests took place—with the exception of a small handful of arrests— without incident.

I tip my hat to the excellent, cooperative work of Chancellor Dirks, University officials, and the University of California Police Department; to our police department, led by Chief Andrew Greenwood; and to law enforcement agencies from throughout the Bay Area who were on hand to provide their support. Thank you to the hardworking women and men of our law enforcement community who deserve a mound of credit for keeping the peace—something the people who live here deserve, and something they rightfully expect. I also want to acknowledge City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley, whose office was instrumental in deftly coordinating the many moving parts of this success.”

Jesse Arreguin