Last night there were violent protests and riots at the University of California, Berkeley. 1,500 students were objecting to a planned speech of Milo Yiannopoulos, who is a gay, right-wing activist, social media star and writer for Breitbart News. He was invited by a Republican “club.”
The university cancelled his appearance after masked protesters swarmed the campus, lighting fires and smashing windows. They also fired roman candles towards riot police. The campus was put on lockdown until 11 pm last night.
Milo often makes controversial statements. He has shown views that are against Black Lives Matter, against feminists, against Muslims, made fun of overweight people, and is a big critical of the social justice movement.
He was banned from Twitter last year for harassing Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones, who said she had to leave Twitter because she got a lot of racist abuse from other people.
Recently Milo posted pictures on Instagram of him buying materials from a Home Depot with his friends to build a part of the “Mexican wall” and showed a receipt, saying Mexico would pay for it.
He has defended his statements as “free speech,” said people were tired of being told how to live and speak. He said that the strength and enthusiasm of his fans are the same kind of force that put Trump in the white house.
Trump has responded on Twitter on the UC Berkeley’s riots by saying this: “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS?”
Some people look at the protests at Berkeley as a success to “stop hate,” some agree with the protests but criticize the property damage, and some say that the protests show that liberals can’t accept a different perspective.
The university released a statement: “UC Berkeley condemns in the strongest possible terms the actions of individuals who invaded the campus, infiltrated a crowd of peaceful students, and used violent tactics to close down the event. We deeply regret that the violence unleashed by this group undermined the First Amendment rights of the speaker as well as those who came to lawfully assemble and protest his presence”
The University of California, Davis and UCLA also have cancelled his appearances, citing concerns from protesters. We can expect for Milo to still be invited to other universities and the controversy and drama around him might continue.