Violent Protests Shut Down Milo Berkeley Talk

Yiannopoulos accuses left of being scared of free speech
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2017 1:54 AM CST
Milo Yiannopoulos Talk Called Off Amid Violent Protests
Graffiti left by protesters in Berkeley, Calif.   (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

A talk by far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California-Berkeley had to be called off Wednesday night as protesters smashed windows, ignited fireworks, and chucked bricks and Molotov cocktails. The university blamed the violence on 150 "masked agitators" it accused of disrupting otherwise peaceful protests against the Breitbart editor and his "Dangerous Faggot" speaking tour, CNN reports. There were around 1,000 demonstrators at the height of the protest, many of whom chanted anti-President Trump slogans, reports the Daily Californian. Police say they were forced to call off the event because of safety concerns. Five people were injured, but there were no arrests.

After the talk was canceled, Yiannopoulos, who calls himself a "libertarian, gay, Trump-supporting provocateur," accused the left of being "terrified" of free speech and of "anyone who they think might be persuasive." A campus Republican group declared that the Free Speech Movement had died on the same campus where it was born, though the Berkeley protesters argued that Yiannopoulos' "hate speech" does not deserve protection. "The whole reason we're here is for free speech," a Berkeley sophomore told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Milo's hate speech is not allowed here. When it's hate speech, our free speech is to shut him down." (A Yiannopoulos talk at the University of California-Davis was called off last month in similar circumstances.)

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