Coulter's Berkeley speech canceled, police prep for violence
- Author: Bernice Underwood May 08, 2017,
May 08, 2017, 15:50
But she changed her mind after student organisers withdrew their invitation, though they vowed to press ahead with a lawsuit filed on Tuesday accusing UC Berkeley of suppressing freedom of speech.
He said the Berkeley College Republicans erred by inviting Coulter without notifying campus officials in advance, as is required of all student groups, and failing to submit to a "security assessment" to determine a suitable time and place for the event. The school was tentatively notified by an email in mid-March that said the group was hoping to get Coulter to appear in late April or in the fall.
Police erected barricades and dispatched officers in riot gear on motorcycles as far-right supporters rallied Thursday to denounce what they called an attempt to silence their views after Ann Coulter said she was forced to cancel a speaking event at the University of California, Berkeley.
But there were no major confrontations between Coulter's supporters and opponents, largely because of a significant police presence and the fact that members of an extremist left-wing group did not show up to provoke clashes.
"Many of the individuals and organizations which planned to protest Ann Coulter's appearance or support it still intend to come to campus", a university spokesman said. Speaking Wednesday night, Mayor Jesse Arreguín told Mother Jones that conservative pundit Coulter should bear some responsibility if her appearance-or lack thereof-causes violence.
Coulter says she might still show up to say hello to supporters. He delivered the speech Coulter had planned to give on illegal immigration, on her behalf, to the crowd's raucous applause.
Berkeley student Joseph Pagadara, 19, said he had anxious about violence and added that the university is caught in the middle of the country's political divide.
"Both sides are so intolerant of each other".
Anthropology major Christina Katkic, 21, anxious that the university was getting increasingly stuck in the middle of the country's political divide.
"What we will not do is allow our students, other members of the campus community, and the public to be needlessly endangered by permitting an event to be held in a venue that our police force does not believe to be protectable", the statement read. Speakers, likewise, have the right to say whatever they want, but bear the responsibility of owning their words' consequences.
Demonstrators who participated in other recent violent clashes on Berkeley's streets gathering at a city park and on campus Thursday to fight for free speech or to protest hate speech.
Exactly who canceled Coulter's speech remains a point of contention.
UPDATE: Two additional arrests have been made in the vicinity of protests, this time by Berkeley police.
Berkeley, home to the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s, has become the center of a pitched battle in recent months.
He wore a military grade helmet with a "Make America Great Again" sticker across the back, goggles, gas mask and knee pads. He blamed people opposed to Coulter and President Donald Trump for forcing him to gear up for problems. One man had duct tape reading "Berkeley" over his mouth. "Speech cannot be financially burdened, any more than it can be punished or banned, simply because it might offend a hostile mob".
Earlier, dozens of police wearing flak jackets and carrying 40 mm launchers that shoot "foam batons" flanked Sproul Plaza while a small group of protesters condemning Coulter staged a rally outside campus. Students should not and can not be allowed to take over a campus and hijack the robust exchange of ideas-even if they think they have the best intentions and are promoting a virtuous, progressive agenda.