Coulter Supporters Rally After Berkeley No-Show

Even some opponents voiced free-speech concerns
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 28, 2017 12:03 AM CDT
A man tapes a sign over his mouth in protest during a demonstration Thursday in Berkeley, Calif.   (Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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(Newser) – Ann Coulter didn't turn up in Berkeley Thursday night, where hundreds held a raucous but largely peaceful demonstration in her absence and lamented what they called the latest blow to free speech in the home of America's free speech movement. The conservative pundit's canceled appearance at the University of California-Berkeley drew hundreds of her supporters to a downtown park, many of them dressed in flak jackets, ballistic helmets adorned with pro-Trump stickers, and other protective gear in anticipation of violence, the AP reports. But there were no major confrontations between Coulter's supporters and opponents, largely because of a significant police presence.

Coulter had publicly floated the idea of visiting Berkeley despite the cancellation, but she didn't show. Her supporters and students on the UC Berkeley campus, many of whom expressed distaste for Coulter's political views, voiced frustration that she didn't get to speak and that the university's reputation as a bastion of tolerance was suffering. Coulter planned to give a speech on illegal immigration. "I don't like Ann Coulter's views, but I don't think in this case the right move was to shut her down," says one 24-year-old grad student. University police refused to let any protesters enter the campus. Six people were arrested, including one for obstructing an officer and wearing a mask to evade police. (Read more Ann Coulter stories.)

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