Alt-right pundit Milo Yiannopoulos’ scheduled appearance at University of California, Berkeley, sparked a fiery protest on Wednesday night (Feb. 1). According to SFGate.com, hundreds of protesters spilled into the city streets where they denounced the Breitbart News editor, who was set to host a “Dangerous Fa**ot” discussion that reportedly takes aim at liberals who disagree with conservative values.
“The whole reason we’re here is for free speech,” UC Berkeley sophomore Jonathan Gow told the website. “Milo’s hate speech is not allowed here. When it’s hate speech, our free speech is to shut him down.”
The demonstration, which also decried Donald Trump’s presidency, turned violent around 6 p.m. when protesters began smashing windows, setting fires and throwing bricks at police officers, who eventually canceled the event before its start time. “As a black Muslim woman, all three of those identities have been targeted throughout (Trump’s) campaign,” UC Berkeley junior Fatima Ibrahim said. “To have someone like (Yiannopoulos) come into my campus and affirm those people’s beliefs, it’s very, very hurtful.”
By the end of the night, at least five people were injured and some were seen with bloody faces. There were no arrests, SFGate reports, but Donald Trump didn’t miss the opportunity to add another threat to his repertoire. Per usual, the nation’s 45th president took to Twitter once he caught wind of the news. “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” he warned.
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
UC Berkeley condemned the violent display in a statement but didn’t completely ignore why Yiannopoulos triggered such a response. “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,” the university said.
“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.”
Read more about the protest here.