Berkeley Braces for Open-Air Ann Coulter Speech
Cops, university prepare for clashes
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2017 12:21 AM CDT
In this photo from Friday, a leaflet is seen stapled to a message board near Sproul Hall at Berkeley in Berkeley, Calif.   (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)
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(Newser) – Ann Coulter has promised to deliver an outdoor speech at the University of California-Berkeley on Thursday, and police, university officials, and even one of the groups that invited her to speak are worried about clashes. After disagreements over dates and venues for her speech, Coulter says she'll stick with the original date of April 27 and speak at the open-air Sproul Plaza despite security concerns, the Daily Californian reports. The plaza was the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement in 1964. "The university has neither the ability nor desire to keep people off this campus," a university spokesman tells the San Francisco Chronicle. "Sproul Plaza is open to the public."

Far-right groups have urged supporters to be "battle ready," and the Young America's Foundation conservative youth group says it's pulling out of the event because it fears "leftist thugs." Pranav Jandhyala, leader of BridgeUSA, one of two student groups that invited Coulter to speak, tells the Washington Post that the group is scrambling to find an off-campus venue for Coulter. "We're worried about it turning into a huge battle between her security and conservative militia and antifascists and others," Jandhyala says. "We're worried about violence and student safety and our own safety as well." Violent protests shut down a Berkeley talk by Milo Yiannopoulos in February.

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