Last night protests erupted at University of California, Berkeley after Milo Yiannopoulos, a right-winged commentator and editor for Breitbart, was scheduled to make an appearance at the school. After more than 1,500 protesters crowded around the campus, with several people shooting fireworks at police, breaking windows and starting fires, Yiannopoulos’ appearance was cancelled.
Protesters marched down the street with banned that read “Become Ungovernable” and “This Is War” before things turned violent. In a statement, the university said: “The violence was instigated by a group of about 150 masked agitators who came onto campus and interrupted an otherwise non-violent protest.”
UC Berkeley Police Chief Margo Bennet added, “This was a group of agitators who were masked up, throwing rocks, commercial grade fireworks and Molotov cocktails at officers.” The campus was immediately put on lockdown for several hours. According to NPR, there were no reports of arrests or serious injuries.
Yiannopoulos was “escorted from the building and left campus” about two hours before he was scheduled to take to the stage at 8 P.M. This isn’t the first time Yiannopoulos came face-to-face with protesters and lecture cancellations. His appearance at UC Davis was cancelled on January 13 after protests broke out on campus, while an invitation to speak at UCLA was revoked amid complaints.
Yiannopoulos was interviewed by Fox News later that night and blamed the violence on “the left that is terrified of anyone who they think might be persuasive or might be interesting or might take people with them.”
He continued, “You know, I am not a scary far-right, you know, kind of neo-Nazi as some of the posters claim. They put those things on posters to try to legitimize their own violence against me and against my supporters. Instead, I’m just sort of libertarian, gay, Trump-supporting provocateur who likes to, you know, present interesting arguments. … [The left] just cannot tolerate anyone popular on campus who does not subscribe to their own crazy views.”
On Twitter early Thursday morning, Donald Trump addressed the incident by alluding to the school’s future federal funding. “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 tweeted.
Many of Trump’s supporters praised him for the response, while others remained disturbed. What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.