Violent UC-Berkeley protest prompts Trump warning to university

A riot broke out at UC Berkeley on Wednesday evening after protests against a Milo Yiannopoulos speech turned violent. In opposition to the appearance of Yiannopoulos, a crowd of over 1,500 people gathered together on campus at Sproul Plaza.

UC Davis interim Chancellor Ralph Hexter said he was "deeply disappointed" by the protests and the cancellation. Some people were attacked and police treated six people for injuries, the university said.

As the scene on the campus of UC Berkeley grew more and more violent, the police urged the protesters to disperse and locked down the campus buildings.

Yiannopoulos, a 32-year-old right-wing provocateur, is a vocal supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump and a self-proclaimed internet troll whose comments have been criticized as racist, misogynist, anti-Muslim and white supremacist.

Yiannopoulos has been permanently banned from Twitter for targeting "Ghostbusters" actor and "Saturday Night Live" cast member Leslie Jones.

The good news for the protesters is that they shut down Yiannopoulos' speech. There were no immediate reports of arrests or serious injuries.

The event, organized by the Berkeley College Republicans, wasn't cancelled until two hours before the event when 150 masked protestors came on campus and interrupted an "otherwise non-violent protest", according to a statement from the university. But the event has been cancelled. For me, the answer is clear: neither.

Berkeley College Republicans said before the protests that a "groupthink phenomenon" has taken hold at the California university that silences conservative speech, and "we saw the chance to host Milo as an opportunity that was too good to pass up".

"Their success is a defeat for civilized society and the free exchange of ideas on college campuses across America", it said in a statement.

Yiannopoulos' talks have sparked protests, shouting matches and occasional violence at stops around the country.

TOLERANCE: Included among the property damage at UC Berkeley were graffiti death threats against the president of the United States.

He was due to deliver his last speech at UCLA on 2 February, however his invitation was rescinded. The gathering was peaceful until about 6 p.m. when self-described anarchists wearing black began to knock down barriers and rushing towards the building.

  • Jon Douglas