UC Berkeley Protest Over Alt-Right Event Turns Violent

The event, hosted by university Republicans, was called off amid protests Wednesday night.

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An appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California Berkeley scheduled to take place on the first day of Black History Month was canceled Wednesday amid protests. Yiannopoulos, an editor for a publication the Southern Poverty Law Center said in 2016 was "embracing ideas on the extremist fringe of the conservative right," had been invited by the Berkeley College Republicans.

I'm still in class, but this is what the #MiloAtCal protest outside of MLK student union looks like rn (photo courtesy of @karimpuff1) pic.twitter.com/Jm7Cb0Yr4M

— suhauna hussain (@suhaunah) February 2, 2017

"The decision to cancel the event was made at about 6 p.m., and officers read several dispersal announcements to a crowd of more than 1,500 protesters who had gathered outside the student union, where Yiannopoulos was to speak," a press release from the UC Berkeley office of public affairs announced Wednesday night. "He immediately was escorted from the building and left campus."

Blac Bloc just showed up and exploding flash grenades. I am OUTTA HERE. UC Berkeley 1 February 2017 5:55 pm pic.twitter.com/5WjoI2wz4a

— Teddy (@TeddyorBiff) February 2, 2017
Violence at UC Berkeley by antifa. This is not a protest #miloatcal pic.twitter.com/7tGd8q0ZTd
Masked protestors just shot off fireworks and are tearing down fences at Berkeley. Milo inside. pic.twitter.com/3SRNLjuTVn
WOAH. Protestors blocked car in Berkeley. Driver ran them over. Sped off. #Milo pic.twitter.com/GeVVphFxjd

Yiannopoulos event canceled https://t.co/zryxeB6vWz #miloatcal pic.twitter.com/BAm35HiSEx

— UC Berkeley (@UCBerkeley) February 2, 2017
Tree is now on fire at UC Berkeley #MiloAtCal #UCBerkeley. People keep shouting "it's lit!" pic.twitter.com/ypgu6D3T4t
This Starbucks isn't opening tomorrow. It's destroyed. Completely. pic.twitter.com/dvuCKqXXIP

The initially non-violent protest, university officials said, took a more aggressive approach when a "group of about 150 masked agitators" reportedly started to employ fires, barricades, Molotov cocktails, and more.

Apparently no one lit the tree on fire. It was an accident: a generator powering a spotlight exploded and burned out for 10 mins. https://t.co/HK6aphfKKv

— sarah jeong (@sarahjeong) February 2, 2017

Post-protest, Cal students pick up litter on Telegraph, taking care of their street #MiloatCal @berkeleyside pic.twitter.com/scvfLg6CWq

— ScottSaul (@scottsaul4) February 2, 2017

View this video on YouTube


UC Berkeley Police Chief Margo Bennett claimed to NBC News that officers did not deploy tear gas or make arrests. "I believe our officers exercised tremendous restraint," she said. According toSFGate, police were investigating a hit-and-run incident Wednesday night involving a white BMW sedan and protesters.

If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017

Predictably, Donald Trump took to Twitter after the cancelation to accuse the university of not allowing "free speech" and practicing "violence on innocent people." Trump also threatened to pull federal funds:

But perhaps Trump should read Sam Sedgman's recent op-ed in the Guardiandeclaring Yiannopoulos a peddler of hate. "For free speech organizations to stand up and defend Yiannopoulos is a dangerous miscalculation," Sedgman writes. "It further supports the narrative that he's a radical visionary being oppressed by the system, rather than an opinion-spamming hack who brings out the worst in people."

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