Rampage renews free speech debate

Demonstrators clash during a free speech rally Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Berkeley, Calif. Several thousand people converged in Berkeley Sunday for a "Rally Against Hate" in response to a planned right-wing protest that raised concerns of violence and triggered a massive police presence. Several people were arrested for violating rules against covering their faces or carrying items banned by authorities. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson)

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Hundreds of masked, black-clad anarchists who overwhelmed a peaceful California protest and assaulted at least five perceived political enemies have reignited the debate over ensuring free speech while protecting public safety in the city where the U.S. free speech movement was born in the 1960s.

After planned weekend rallies were violently disrupted or canceled, supporters of President Donald Trump and other politically conservative activists complained their free speech rights were blocked by liberal politicians who they say incited left-wing extremists.

When Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson canceled his San Francisco rally Saturday, he blamed San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Democratic U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi for falsely labeling the organization as a hate group and inciting extremism to vow violent disruption.