- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 29, 2017

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi broke her silence on last weekend’s Berkeley mayhem by emphasizing the importance of peaceful protest without actually mentioning the antifa or other leftist groups behind the violence.

In response to a request for comment on the melee, a spokesman for the California Democrat sent a one-line email late Monday to The Washington Times.

“Leader Pelosi has always emphasized the importance of ‘peaceful’ in the right to peaceful protest,” said Pelosi spokesman Taylor Griffin.

The response comes after Mrs. Pelosi was accused of inflaming leftist protesters by describing the Patriot Prayer’s Freedom Rally in San Francisco as a “white supremacist rally,” despite the denials of organizer Joey Gibson, who ultimately cancelled the Saturday event over fears of antifa violence.

“From the start, I have had grave concerns about the public safety hazard the National Park Service would create by permitting a white supremacist rally in the middle of a park for families and children,” Mrs. Pelosi said last week in a statement.

Mr. Gibson, who is half-Asian, supports President Trump but has repeatedly denounced racism and pointed out that the Freedom Rally featured a slate of mostly non-white speakers.

Black-masked protesters led by the antifa and By Any Means Necessary jumped police barriers, chased down and attacked a small number of Trump supporters on Sunday in Berkeley, even though the scheduled No to Marxism in America rally had been cancelled by organizers the day before over safety concerns.

Berkeley police reported that six people were injured, including a police officer. Thirteen people were arrested on charges that included vandalism and assault with a deadly weapon.

Mr. Gibson was hit with a pole, sprayed with tear gas and struck with thrown debris as he tried to escape from an angry crowd, as shown on video taken at the protest.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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