On Wednesday night, the University of California at Berkeley announced on Twitter that the speech that was supposed to be done by Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos was canceled– in response to the violent protests that occurred on the campus that day.
The university canceled just two hours prior to the speech and Yiannopoulos was removed from campus “amid the violence and destruction of property and out of concern for public safety”, according to U.C. administrators.
“The university blamed “150 masked agitators” for the unrest, saying they had come to campus to disturb an otherwise peaceful protest,” writes CNN. “Black-clad protesters wearing masks threw commercial-grade fireworks and rocks at police. Some even hurled Molotov cocktails that ignited fires. They also smashed windows of the student union center on the Berkeley campus where the Yiannopoulos event was to be held.”
At Sproul Plaza, over 1,500 protesters gathered with signs that read “No safe space for racists” and “This is war.”
Many of the agitators who set fires around the campus bookstore and vandalized a new dorm were part of the “Black Bloc,” an anarchist group. Some the protesters moved to downtown Berkeley, where they smashed the windows at several banks.
One woman with a Trump hat was even pepper sprayed while doing an interview with CNN affiliate KGO. At least six other people have been reported injured.
Yiannopoulos had been invited by the Berkeley College Republicans at the university as part of his college speaking tour. He was planning to discuss the “epidemic of political correctness” on campuses.
He took to Facebook to respond to the out of control scene.
“I have been evacuated from the UC Berkeley campus after violent left-wing protestors tore down barricades, lit fires, threw rocks and Roman candles at the windows and breached the ground floor of the building. My team and I are safe. But the event has been cancelled. I’ll let you know more when the facts become clear. One thing we do know for sure: the Left is absolutely terrified of free speech and will do literally anything to shut it down,” wrote Yiannopoulos.
He also went live on Facebook and said “I’m just stunned that hundreds of people … were so threatened by the idea that a conservative speaker might be persuasive, interesting, funny and might take some people with him, they have to shut it down at all costs.”
He blamed the violence on the fact that the left needs a target they can actually get to.
“Protesters know they cannot get to the president – even when he was the president-elect,” said Yiannopoulos to Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday night’s Hannity. “They cannot really get to him, so they picked the next best target. I’m a big fan of his. I annoy the feminists, Black Lives Matter guys, almost as much as Trump does. They go to the next best thing. The target they can get to, or the person they can get in close proximity with. They don’t scare me”
Thursday morning Trump also had something to say about the deplorable scene at Berkeley and implied he may cut federal funding from the university.
“If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view — NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” said Trump.
The university issued a statement condemning the violence and claimed to support freedom of speech.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence and unlawful behavior that was on display and deeply regret that those tactics will now overshadow the efforts to engage in legitimate and lawful protest against the performer’s presence and perspectives,” according to a statement by U.C. Berkeley.
“While Yiannopoulos’ views, tactics and rhetoric are profoundly contrary to our own, we are bound by the Constitution, the law, our values and the campus’s Principles of Community to enable free expression across the full spectrum of opinion and perspective.”
Author’s note: I can understand that Yiannopoulos’ safety may have been at risk, but the university let “the loudest voice in the room,” so to speak, win in this situation. It’s unfair that the republican students get punished over this, especially because they are so outnumbered and their university has made it clear of their political bias.