Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín urges cancellation of Yiannopoulos’s upcoming visit

Lianne Frick/File

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Mayor Jesse Arreguín urged the campus to cancel plans to host Milo Yiannopoulos during a student group’s upcoming “Free Speech Week,” as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Chancellor Carol Christ confirmed Aug. 23 that Yiannopoulos will return to campus in September. The Berkeley Patriot, a conservative campus newspaper, is hosting Free Speech Week, and it has invited several speakers, including Yiannopoulos, to attend.

Arreguín said, however, that his concern about Yiannopoulos’s visit is not related to the viewpoints of the speaker but rather the violence that might be provoked in the city.

Yiannopoulos was previously invited to campus by Berkeley College Republicans on Feb. 1, but the event was canceled in light of the violent protests that resulted in a campuswide lockdown.

“Whether or not speakers are allowed is a university decision,” Arreguín said. “I expect the university to do everything they can to safeguard our community, which they have already promised to do.”

Yvette Felarca, activist and member of By Any Means Necessary, alleged that the city disproportionately arrested and charged anti-fascist protesters and said the charges against counterprotesters should be dropped.

“I won’t call it ‘Free Speech Week,’ because it’s not about free speech,” Felarca said. What he’s trying to do is silence us. … He should not be here; he is not welcome.”

Felarca said visits by right-wing speakers such as Yiannopoulos threaten the safety of minorities on campus, including Muslim, immigrant and transgender students.

But Councilmember Kriss Worthington said it is the responsibility of the city to allow varying perspectives to be expressed while providing for public safety regardless of an individual’s political viewpoint.

Worthington added that by being exposed to different viewpoints, students can learn and figure out whether they agree or not.

“I grew up in a mostly conservative area, and the fact that I was a Democrat was radical … so I have sympathy for people that are in a minority point of view,” Worthington said. “In Berkeley, there is a dominance of liberal beliefs, but we need to have space for other points of view. Christ (is) doing a balancing act.”

Worthington also touched on the Berkeley Police Department’s role during protests, stating that the department is learning how to better deal with protest violence with each new event.

He also praised Christ for striking a balance between allowing many points of view and providing for public safety.

“Berkeley’s values of inclusivity are woven into the fabric of our community,” Arreguín said in his statement. “No opinion, however controversial, can ever threaten that.”

According to the SF Chronicle, Arreguín has advocated classifying “black bloc” as a gang in response to recent protests.

Black bloc is a tactic used by protesters and individuals and is frequently associated with Antifa, which is an umbrella organization for far-left-leaning militant groups. “Black bloc tactics” involve dressing in all black and sometimes damaging property.

But according to Worthington, a proposal to classify those who employ “black bloc tactics” as a gang has not yet been proposed to City Council.

“Anybody who’s practicing violence, no matter what their political view is, we need to stop the violence,” Worthington said. “We can’t focus on left-wing or right-wing violence. We just need to stop the violence.”

Contact Elena Aguirre at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @eaguirreDC.

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  • Anon Ymous

    The mayor of Beserkely is an illegal alien and commie POS who should be deported.

  • MagicalMcgoo

    Gutless and feckless, gutless and feckless. he goes on about the importance of espousing the minority/opposing viewpoint and then concludes with “don’t let them in though”. He either believes what he says and is gutless to back up his words with action, or he is totally feckless and knows he has to say the inclusive words but in his heart doesn’t want to hear any opposing viewpoints to his liberal world view. After his term is up, this guy is tailor made to teach at Berkeley.

  • Leila Blanc

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  • Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day

    Yet another balless wonder playing politics.

  • garyfouse

    What Arreguin and the leftists are saying is the school should stop Yiannopoulis from speaking so the campus will be safe from violence form themselves. Sounds like the old Mafia protection racket.

    It is time for Berkeley to allow the event to go on and anyone who tries to stop it or who engages in violence will be arrested. Enough is enough. Let the campus police do their duty to protect free speech, public safety and property. No more potted plants.

  • FreedomFan

    If Berkeley residents weren’t FUBAR, they would can this little pantifa marxist, Arreguín.

    • BerkeleyMews

      The student vote put Arreguin into office.

  • X Ray

    Clearly, Nazis have been targeting Berkeley all year because they’re attempting to intimidate a traditionally-progressive community.

    It’s not surprising, then, that the DC would attract as many comments from this filth as it does but it’s still disturbing. These are thugs who hide behind “free speech” as an excuse for their warped thinking and demands that Jews, Blacks & Hispanics be eliminated from their world.

    They invade, they intimidate and they provoke. That is their purpose. Free speech “rights” shouldn’t protect them. America once fought a war against them and killed them by the millions. We shouldn’t have to do that again.

    • zzz

      There is no such thing as hiding behind free speech.

      I don’t know if I have ever read a post here defending nazi-ism. I think your problem is that not agreeing with you is nazi.

    • roccolore

      It’s liberals like you who are the Nazis.

    • garyfouse

      Yiannopoulis and the College Republicans are not Nazis. There is a vast difference between Yiannopoulis and the scum that put on that rally in Chalottesville. It is the left and Antifa that act like Nazis. Shutting down free speech and engaging in violence is brown shirt tactics.

    • FreedomFan

      Yes Berkeley is very “progressive”…if by “progress” you mean reverting back to tribal identity hatreds and perpetrating violence against anyone who disagrees with you.

    • Anon Ymous

      According to liberals, anyone who isn’t a liberal = Nazi. Even if you’re Jewish! Liberalism is a mental disorder.

  • John D. Horton

    Wearing a mask in public is illegal in most states as part of anti-KKK legislation passed in the 1920s? Antifa can be arrested on mask violations alone.

    If you wear a mask in public you are planning on engaging in an illegal act. Conspiracy by a group to commit illegal acts is its own crime so all of Antifa can be rounded up on mask and conspiracy charges alone.

  • John D. Horton

    Why not impose law and order on those who disrupt the speaking engagements?

    Does Antifa and Black Lives Matter own UC Berkeley and the City of Berkeley?

    I don’t understand why machine guns are not used on Antifa and Black Lives Matter?

    If the KKK or neo-Nazis were attacking anybody, they would be machine-gunned by the police in an instant.

  • BerkPed

    Before the University has 1 more alt-right speaker, the UC should offer Adelaide Kramer a full scholarship admission to the UC campus of her choice.

    • roccolore

      The fascist left doesn’t have a problem with Jew-haters, Communists, and terror apologists come to campus.

  • roccolore

    The mayor is a Mexican supremacist coward who hates free speech.

  • RU_Serious

    Maybe they should try something really radical, like arresting violent asshats. They haven’t tried that before!