A protest turned riot against Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California-Berkeley has escalated into a campus lockdown, reports of violence, a cancelled speech, and Yiannopoulos leaving campus.
The campus police issued a series of alerts via Twitter, urging people to stay in place for their own safety as the protest escalated into a potential riot.
Police said the university was locked down.
People posted videos of the unrest on social media. According to Fox News, “a small group dressed in black showed up and began throwing flares and other objects at the building. Some members of that group were wearing hooded sweatshirts.”
The school announced the talk was cancelled, saying, “Amid violence, destruction of property and out of concern for public safety, the University of California Police Department determined that it was necessary to remove Milo Yiannopoulos from the campus and to cancel tonight’s scheduled 8 p.m. performance.”
The campus news site reported that the crowd surged to 1,500 protesters.
The university continued, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence and unlawful behavior that was on display and deeply regret that those tactics will now overshadow the efforts to engage in legitimate and lawful protest against the performer’s presence and perspectives.” The College Republicans had invited Milo, a Donald Trump supporter, to campus, reported Fox.
The police wrote in a statement, “UCPD is alerting residents and pedestrians about a dangerous situation taking place now in the area of Bancroft Way and Telegraph. A SHELTER IN PLACE order has been issued for that area until the situation is brought under control.”
Yiannopoulos – who was banned from Twitter for trolling behavior – released a statement accusing protestors of throwing rocks, lighting fires, and causing other havoc. “I have been evacuated from the UC Berkeley campus after violent left-wing protestors tore down barricades, lit fires, threw rocks and Roman candles at the windows and breached the ground floor of the building,” Milo wrote, according to BuzzFeed News. You can read his full statement here:
Yiannopoulos, a conservative Internet provocateur and writer, has been making the rounds at campuses throughout the country, causing controversy along the way. Campuses across the United States have struggled with how to draw the line between hate speech and freedom of speech, as Yiannopoulos is known for his sharp-tongued comments against different groups of people. Some people have attached Yiannopoulos to the controversial “alt-right movement.”
Here are some of the reports from the scene:
Some people defended Milo.
Others said that campuses that allow him to speak are courting problems.
And other people felt that the protests give Milo more publicity, which is what he is seeking.