Hundreds of students and other protesters chanting “shut him down” smashed windows at the University of California campus, set wooden pallets on fire and threw fireworks and rocks as police in full riot gear responded with tear gas.
The university was placed on lockdown as the sold-out appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos, a conservative firebrand, was canceled Wednesday evening.
“If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” Trump wrote on Twitter Thursday.
Trump’s top political adviser Stephen Bannon is the former chairman of Breitbart News.
Yiannopoulos, who is the Breitbart technology editor, is known for his provocative social media posts and was banned from Twitter in July for fueling abuse directed at “Ghostbusters” actress Leslie Jones.
The British journalist is a vocal supporter of Donald Trump — nicknaming the US president “Daddy” during his election campaign — and has become one of the faces of America’s “alt-right” movement.
Similar protests at the University of California at Davis last month also forced the cancellation of speeches by Yiannopoulos and former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli.
The events at Davis and Berkeley were organized by conservative student groups. A similar invitation to speak at UCLA was rescinded and Berkeley was to be the last stop of his tour.
Officials at the three University of California campuses stressed that they did not invite Yiannopoulos or endorse his ideas but were committed to free speech.
More than 100 UC Berkeley faculty members had signed two letters sent last month to the school’s chancellor, urging him to cancel the event.
“Although we object strenuously to Yiannopoulos’s views — he advocates white supremacy, transphobia and misogyny — it is rather his harmful conduct to which we call attention in asking for the cancellation of this event,” read one of the letters.
They cited as one example an incident in December at the University of Milwaukee where Yiannopoulos — a gay crusader against “political correctness” — openly mocked a transgender student, displaying her name and photo on screen. DM
In other news...
South Africa is in a very real battle. A political fight where terms such as truth and democracy can seem more of a suggestion as opposed to a necessity.
On one side of the battle are those openly willing to undermine the sovereignty of a democratic society, completely disregarding the weight and power of the oaths declared when they took office. If their mission was to decrease society’s trust in government - mission accomplished.
And on the other side are those who believe in the ethos of a country whose constitution was once declared the most progressive in the world. The hope that truth, justice and accountability in politics, business and society is not simply fairy tale dust sprinkled in great electoral speeches; but rather a cause that needs to be intentionally acted upon every day.
However, it would be an offensive oversight not to acknowledge that right there on the front lines, alongside whistleblowers and civil society, stand the journalists. Armed with only their determination to inform society and defend the truth, caught in the crossfire of shots fired from both sides.
If you believe in supporting the cause and the work of Daily Maverick then take your position on the battleground and sign up to Maverick Insider today.
For whatever amount you choose, you can support Daily Maverick and it only takes a minute.
"Everything is flux" ~ Heraclitus