UC Berkeley prepares for another potential violent event

UC Berkeley prepares for another potential violent event”

The most recent event at Provo Park on August 27 turned violent after Antifa members, or anti-fascists, and other counter-protestors swarmed over a barricade set up by police, confronting and occasionally assaulting the event's organizers.

Police anticipate the presence of protesters, so they're establishing a "security area" Thursday morning with a limited number of access points where ticket holders will be able to enter Zellerbach Hall starting at 5:30 p.m.

The Berkeley City Council made an emergency decision Tuesday night, allowing officers to use pepper spray, which hasn't been allowed in 20 years. "We'll have far more police officers here, we're confronting anyone wearing a mask", said Dan Mogulof, spokesman UC Berkeley. Four political demonstrations have turned violent in Berkeley since February, prompting officers to come up with new strategies to control rowdy and sometimes risky crowds. Shapiro is a conservative commentator, lawyer, and former Breitbart editor. The event is dubbed "Berkeley Free Speech Week" and the mayor of Berkeley has been public about wanting this event to be canceled because of past violence, which the university declined to do. In February, Yiannopoulos' scheduled appearance sparked a campus-wide lockdown after protests erupted that caused $100,000 in damages, as CNN reported.

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and conservative author Ann Coulter will also be speaking at the September 24-27 event, reported The College Fix.

"There are faculty who don't think the campus should be the site of this, what they call, political circus", Burawoy said, adding that the headline-grabbing visits by controversial speakers put the university in a no-win situation.

Regardless the outcome of Shapiro's gig, however, it looks likely that Free Speech Week will proceed.

"We're not afraid of Milo, Ann (Coulter) or Bannon's words", associate teaching professor of African American studies Michael Cohen, one of seven co-authors of the letter said.

"Ironically, Berkeley is fighting Free Speech Week the same way they fought against Mario Savio's Free Speech Movement in the 60's - by spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt", he said.

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