A talk by Milo Yiannopoulos scheduled on the 1st of February at UC Berkeley ended up in a protest by hundreds of students. A crowd of more than 1500 students gathered outside the UC Berkeley campus. Protesters were against Milo’s speech in UC Campus. They started breaking windows, throwing smoke bombs in campus and sparked bonfire outside the building. Due to safety concerns by the crowd gathered for the event, UC Berkeley canceled the event two hours before the event started.
Milo’s visit to UC Berkeley was sponsored by the campus Republican club. Mr. Yiannopoulos after the cancellation of an event told to Fox news, “obviously it’s a liberal campus so they hate any conservatives who dare to express an opinion on their campuses.” Further, Milo added, “They particularly don’t like me.”
Nicholas Dirks, UC Vice Chancellor gave his statement in Berkeley news, “What happened tonight was very unfortunate.”
Dirks added to his statement, “It was against the fundamental values of the university. We are and will remain in favor of free speech as essential to the educational mission and a vital component of the identity of the University of California.” For more information, see Berkeley’s statement here: http://news.berkeley.edu/2017/02/02/campus-condemns-violence-defends-free-speech/
Dan Moulof, the university spokesperson said, “They were a small group of Hijackers in black masks, who were breaking windows and throwing smoke bombs.”
Protest organizer Yvette Felarca described, “The actions of protestors were of self-defense. She said we have the right to save ourselves.”
She further added “Shutting down the Milo was necessary. And we can do anything to shut him down.”
Margo Bennet, Police chief UC Berkeley stated, “a small group of protestors started throwing smoke bombs and flares. These protestors were wearing black hooded sweatshirts.”
Bennet said “at some time they were unable to guarantee the security and canceled the event. The spokesperson was evacuated from the building”.
The protest prompted President Trump’s views on free speech. Mr. Trump wrote a tweet questioning the university on handling this incident. He also threatened to cut off school’s federal funds.
He tweeted “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?”
A spokesman for the Berkeley College Republicans, Pieter Sittler said, “The Republican club off campus does not support everything that Milo says.”
Pieter further added, “Milo gives voice to the repressed conservative thought on American colleges.”
Pranav Jandhyala, a student eyewitnesses the incident and said, “It’s horrible; it’s disgusting what’s going on. It’s one thing to protect someone’s right to come here and speak, but it’s another thing to create this much amount of destruction and violence.”
Colin Duke, another student said “I just came to see if I could get into the Milo event. I support free speech. And it just got canceled by a bunch of people in black clothes.”