By Noel Randewich
BERKELEY, Calif. (Reuters) - Right and left-wing protesters clashed on Saturday at a park in downtown Berkeley, California, exchanging blows and throwing bottles and cans as police in riot gear sought to separate the two camps, using explosive devices at one point.
At least nine demonstrators were arrested during the brawls, which broke out at an event originally organized as a so-called "Patriots Day" free speech rally and picnic by conservative activists. Several people appeared to suffer minor injuries.
"I wanted to show my support (for President Donald Trump)," said Daryl Tempesta, 52, who said he served in the U.S. Air Force near the end of the Cold War.
"As a veteran, I like the track America is on, and that Trump is willing to stand and say we are still America and we are not going to be globalist, we're not going to be a communist country. That's a message I can get behind," Tempesta said.
Among the counter-protesters were self-styled anarchists of the left, dressed in black and covering their faces with masks or bandanas.
(Reporting by Noel Randewich in Berkeley; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)