BREAKING: MILO YIANNOPOULOS SPEECH CANCELED AT BERKLEY RIOTS ENSUE
BERKELEY (AP) — An unlawful assembly has been declared at University of California Berkeley Wednesday evening. Major protests have shutdown a scheduled talk by polarizing Breitbart News editor, Milo Yiannopoulos. It would have been Yiannopoulos’ last stop on his tour aimed at defying what he calls an epidemic of political correctness on college campuses.
— Bob Henry (@Rmhenry1Henry) February 2, 2017
— It’s Going Down (@IGD_News) February 2, 2017
Demonstrators broke windows and lit fireworks at Sproul Plaza and were met by tight security in the form of law enforcement armed in riot gear who were inside protecting the campus building.
The 32-year-old right-wing provocateur is a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump and a self-proclaimed internet troll whose comments have been criticized as racist, misogynist, anti-Muslim and white supremacist. He was banned from Twitter after leading a harassment campaign against “Ghostbusters” actress Leslie Jones.
His visit to Berkeley is sponsored by the campus Republican club. The university has stressed it did not invite Yiannopoulos and does not endorse his ideas but is committed to free speech and rejected calls to cancel the event.
On Wednesday, the university sent a notice to all students that warned of crowds near the student union, where the 500-seat, sold-out event was scheduled.
I went to Berkeley: Berkeley doesn’t fuck around
— George Ciccariello (@ciccmaher) February 2, 2017
“We anticipate there will be major protest/ demonstration activity leading up to and surrounding this event,” the letter from school officials said. It did not discourage protests but advised those who didn’t wish to participate to avoid the area.
Pieter Sittler, a spokesman for the Berkeley College Republicans, said the club doesn’t support everything Yiannopoulos says but “he gives a voice to repressed conservative thought on American college campuses.” He uses “levity and humor” that should not be taken literally, Sittler said.
Yiannopoulos’ talks have sparked protests, shouting matches and occasional violence at stops around the country. A man was shot and wounded at protests outside his Jan. 21 talk at the University of Washington.
Rowdy protests at UC Davis Jan. 13 prompted campus Republicans to cancel his appearance last minute. His last stop was supposed to be UCLA on Thursday but the invitation was rescinded, making Berkeley his grand finale.