I don't know if this is an appropriate topic of discussion on the Martial Arts Forum, as it crosses the line over into politics so I'll leave that up to Crafty. I'm not really interested in discussing the politics involved on the MA side, but I'd be interested in hearing discussion on what we can learn from watching relatively unskilled fighters (mostly - there may be some with some training) try to wallop each other, both from the standpoint of skill sets and a new cultural phenomenon.
In the recent anti-Trump / pro-Trump riots in Berkeley, as well as fights related to the Inauguration, clips on the news and YouTube showed numerous examples of stick fights and staff fights (using "flagpoles" brought to the protests). More recently, at the melee that resulted after the confrontation between pro-Trump and anti-Trump (the "Antifa") protestors, the confrontations seem to be assuming a ritualized context of community fighting, as both sides are increasingly arming themselves with sticks and staves, as well as more modern weapons such as pepper spray which is being used indiscriminately. In response to the rising tide of aggression, you can see protestors begin to armor themselves with helmets, face masks, shin guards (I would imagine cups), and chest protectors, eye protection, and carrying sticks and wooden shields, frequently painted with insignia representing their causes.
The melee-type battles that follow look like a mix of an unskilled full-contact stick fighting meet, SCA, and African tribal ritualized combat. It's interesting to consider whether these kind of community fights stoke tensions or act as some kind of communal pressure valve, as they seem to do in third-world settings.
Here's an example of the type of protection pro-Trump fighters are sporting:
Anti-Trump: Not sure of the significance of the 3 arrows:
Technique seems to be about what you would expect:
There are some real injuries:
Even innocent bystanders are at risk:
The flags seem to be carried not only for group identification purposes but also to be used as staves/spears:
Short, heavy flagpoles may be a work-around to avoid being accused of carrying a weapon, as a stick supporting a flag or protest sign is probably a 1st Amendment issue:
Here's a pretty stout flagpole:
Sticks are carried and used more frequently:
Some Youtube videos of the melee:https://youtu.be/enIIfAZC210https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szXhKyoMRowhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNhsuDSAfVUhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qFF8howHbohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcMvFPSi4cY
Again, I hope this is an appropriate area of discussion for the forum.