House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sternly denounced the Antifa protesters who caused violence in Berkeley, California, over the weekend, a condemnation that could worsen the far-left anarchist group’s public perception and distance it from the mainstream Democratic Party.
In a statement released late Tuesday, Pelosi addressed the spate of violence that broke out on Sunday when peaceful right-wing demonstrators were assaulted by Antifa rioters, many of whom leapt over barricades and brandished makeshift weapons. Videos from the scene show mobs of masked, black-clad individuals surrounding and antagonizing demonstrators.
“Our democracy has no room for inciting violence or endangering the public, no matter the ideology of those who commit such acts,” Pelosi said in the statement. “The violent actions of people calling themselves Antifa in Berkeley this weekend deserve unequivocal condemnation, and the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted.”
“In California, as across all of our great nation, we have deep reverence for the Constitutional right to peaceful dissent and free speech,” Pelosi continued. “Non-violence is fundamental to that right. Let us use this sad event to reaffirm that we must never fight hate with hate, and to remember the values of peace, openness and justice that represent the best of America.”
The move complicates the Democrats’ go-to narrative in the wake of Charlottesville that saw them excoriate President Donald Trump for condemning violence “on many sides” and pointing out that Antifa thugs committed violence too.
“Do they have any semblance of guilt? What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem?” he wondered. “I think they do.”
In all, thirteen people were arrested and five others injured on Sunday after the peaceful demonstrators were attacked and surrounded by over 100 Antifa members.