Early Thursday, Donald Trump threatened to cut federal funds to UC Berkeley –where the Free Speech Movement began– because they canceled a Milo Yiannopoulos event.
If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
Officials canceled the event not because of Yiannopoulos’ controversial and hateful rhetoric, but after violent protests began that threatened the safety of many people in attendance and protesting outside.
UC Berkeley said in a statement:
Amid an apparently organized violent attack and destruction of property at UC Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, the UC Police Department (UCPD) determined it was necessary to evacuate controversial speaker Milo Yiannopoulos from campus and to cancel his scheduled 8 p.m. performance. Yiannopoulos had been invited by the Berkeley College Republicans.
At about 10 p.m., campus officials lifted the “shelter in place” order issued earlier in the evening and said Berkeley would be back to business as usual on Thursday. However, UCPD asked the community to be aware that protest activity was still occurring in the city of Berkeley and to avoid streets surrounding the campus.
The violence was instigated by a group of about 150 masked agitators who came onto campus and interrupted an otherwise non-violent protest.
The decision to cancel the event was made at about 6 p.m., and officers read several dispersal announcements to a crowd of more than 1,500 protesters who had gathered outside the student union, where Yiannopoulos was to speak. He immediately was escorted from the building and left campus.
According to CNN, at least six people were injured. As of 9:30pm Wednesday night, there were no arrests.
Neo-Nazi Yiannopoulos responded on Facebook:
The Free Speech Movement was a student protest which took place during the 1964 academic year on the campus of the UC Berkeley. In protests that were unprecedented at the time, students insisted that the university administration lift the ban of on-campus political activities and acknowledge the students’ right to free speech and academic freedom.