Milo Yiannopoulos makes brief speech at UC Berkeley as hundreds protest outside barriers

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Lianne Frick/Senior Staff

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Controversial conservative writer Milo Yiannopoulos spoke to a crowd of about 50 people on UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza on Sunday before hurriedly leaving campus on what would have been the first day of the now-canceled “Free Speech Week.”

About noon, Yiannopoulos arrived on campus with Infowars host Mike Cernovich and conservative author Pamela Geller, speaking for about 20 minutes.

Yiannopoulos was originally invited to speak at UC Berkeley for Free Speech Week by campus publication the Berkeley Patriot from Sunday to Sept. 27, but the student group announced Saturday that it was pulling its sponsorship for the four-day-long event. Yiannopoulos, however, said Saturday that he still intended to speak on Sproul Plaza on Sunday, along with several other speakers originally planned for Free Speech Week.

A crowd of about 150 protesters started gathering on and around south campus about 10 a.m., with lines of orange barriers and blockades already erected by campus to keep the crowd near the edges of Sproul Plaza.

UCPD put up several checkpoints with metal detectors on Sproul Plaza to screen people as they entered the area near the steps of Sproul Hall. Although the crowd on Sproul Plaza grew to about 300 people by noon, only about 50 people were allowed inside the barricades to listen to Yiannopoulos speak up close.

Yvette Felarca, an organizer for activist group By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN, said she and her fellow members planned to “gather as many people” as they could to protest Yiannopoulos’ appearance.

“To protect the community (and make) it a sanctuary campus, that means actively defending it,” Felarca said. 

The Berkeley Patriot filed a civil rights complaint through the U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday, alleging that the UC Berkeley administration had suppressed the student group’s First Amendment rights. On Saturday, the Berkeley Patriot announced that it was canceling the event because it feared alleged retaliation from the campus for the complaint.

“It became a situation that we just had to get out of because of the complications,” said Pranav Jandhyala, news editor for the Berkeley Patriot, who attended Yiannopoulos’ talk on Sproul Plaza.

While many people attending the protest Sunday were students or local community members, some came from outside the Bay Area to attend Yiannopoulos’ unofficial speaking event. Orange County resident Lisa Collins, who came to Berkeley for Free Speech Week, said she was disappointed that the events were canceled and said she believed Yiannopoulos was brave to show up to campus and deliver his speech.

“If Berkeley really believed in free speech, they would have done everything to facilitate speech,” Collins said.

Standing on the steps of Sproul Hall in what was an unofficial event, Yiannopoulos spoke to the crowd sans microphone or speakers because of restrictions placed by the campus. Yiannopoulos asked the crowd to kneel and pray for the protesters who “don’t know what they’re doing.”

As Yiannopoulos knelt in the middle of the crowd, a member of Refuse Fascism chanted “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA” and attempted to put flyers in his face as Yiannopolous’ supporters blocked him. The crowd began to sing “We Shall Overcome” as they prayed.

Yiannopoulos then spent several minutes autographing signs and hats and taking photographs with members of the crowd. Before he left, he blew kisses to the crowd and led them in singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

About 12:30 p.m., Yiannopoulos was escorted out of the area by several of his bodyguards, and his car left campus soon after. The crowds in and outside of Sproul Plaza, however, remained in place.

“(I’m) here to support free speech for all sides, and I wanted to see how crazy it would get,” said Berkeley City College sophomore Tyler Dechance. “I think that the university should allow more free speech from both sides, regardless of how offensive it is.”

After Yiannopoulos left campus, members of BAMN and Refuse Fascism started marching through the south campus area down Telegraph and Durant avenues about 1 p.m. Trump supporters later joined the march, shouting phrases such as “Commies go home!” at the protesters. Berkeley Police Department issued a Nixle alert about 1:20 p.m. announcing that the crowd of marchers had grown to about 50-75 people.

BPD spokesperson Officer Jennifer Coats said Bancroft Way was closed between Bowditch and Dana streets and Telegraph Avenue was closed from Durant Avenue to Bancroft Way because of the large group of protesters marching in the city.

The protesters who marched started to disperse about 2:40 p.m.

Yiannopoulos also announced at the event that he plans to return to UC Berkeley every year with new sponsors. Campus administrators announced in a campuswide email Sunday evening that they had been informed that Yiannopoulos would not be returning for the rest of the week and that Upper Sproul Plaza would be fully reopened by Monday morning.

At a campus press conference held after Yiannopoulos left campus, UCPD Chief Margo Bennett estimated security costs for the event — including personnel and supplies — to be about $800,000. Bennett also confirmed that UCPD had assistance from eight to 10 other law enforcement agencies.

Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof said during the press conference that UC Berkeley will not be making cuts to student services and programs because of the high security costs of controversial events on campus.

Mogulof also said he was uncertain about similar future conflicts on campus.

“Our crystal ball is broken at the moment,” Mogulof said during the conference. “We need to be prepared for the unexpected. What isn’t going to change is our compliance and unwavering support to the First Amendment and free speech.”

 

BPD and its law enforcement partners — including UCPD, Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol, Oakland Police Department and Stanford University Police — arrested 11 people Sunday in connection with demonstrations related to Yiannopoulos’ appearance, according to a Nixle alert released Sunday evening by BPD. Of the 11 people arrested, seven were arrested on suspicion of violating regulations prohibiting various items on city streets and sidewalks.

There were no reported injuries due to violence or any property damage in connection with Sunday’s demonstrations, according to the Nixle alert.

Staff writers Adrianna Buenviaje, Sakura Cannestra, Chantelle Lee, Francesca Munsayac, Malini Ramaiyer, Mark Henry Salupen, Anjali Shrivastava, Harini Shyamsundar, Ani Vahradyan, Elise Ulwelling and Ashley Wong contributed to this report.

Contact The Daily Californian News Staff at [email protected].

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  • SMH

    …..

    MILO YIANNOPOULOS HAS MADE A **FOOL** OF THE UC BERKELEY CHANCELLOR & THE ENTIRE UNIVERSITY IN THE UNIVERSITY’S SPENDING OF **$800,000** TO **$1,000,000** FOR MILO’S 20 MINUTE PHOTO-OP & AUTOGRAPH SESSION.

    BUT IT *DOES* SHOW THAT THE CHANCELLOR CAN COME UP WITH SUCH MONEY WHEN THE CHANCELLOR *WANTS* TO DO SO — MONEY THAT COULD GO TO ETHNIC STUDIES & OTHER DIVERSITY *ENRICHMENT* EDUCATIONAL / ACADEMIC PROGRAMS, INSTEAD OF EDUCATIONAL / ACADEMIC CUTS OR SHORTCOMINGS.

    …..

    • California Defender

      LOL! Thanks for the laugh, SMH. That was a good one.

    • SMH

      …..

      And, actually, the TV news said it was only 15 minutes!

      $800,000/15minutes = over **$53,000** per **minute**!!

      $1,000,000/15 minute = almost **$67,000** per **minute**!!

      …..

    • FreedomFan

      Yeah Milo made a fool out of Berzerkely marxist students and professors. Keep it up, Dims.

      • SMH

        .
        FascistFan: “Yeah Milo made a fool out of Berzerkely marxist students and professors.”

        It wasn’t the “marxist” students and professors who spent **$53,000** to **$67,000** per **MINUTE** for Milo’s **SCAM**!!

        It was UC Berkeley Chancellor **CAROL CHRIST** who was made a **FOOL** of by Milo.
        .

  • X Ray

    Memo to the DailyCal: Does it bother you, at all, that your site has become an evident meeting ground for Nazis?

    Evidently, it doesn’t or you’d do something about it. When the only comments posted are from Nazi filth, MAYBE it’s time to stop soliciting comments. Unless, of course, your editors have a little goosestep in them.

    • Rollie

      Helpful hint: Hyperbole saps credibility from any argument. Whatever else you think of them, these people you disagree with aren’t Nazis. A real Nazi, if you can find one in Berkeley to ask, would be offended by the comparison. Take a deep breath, pick another descriptor and try again, and you may sound reasonable next time. (By the way, “fascist” doesn’t work either.)

      Also, your implication that the Daily Cal should “…do something about it” strongly suggests you to be the censoring type.

      • lspanker

        Helpful hint: Hyperbole saps credibility from any argument.

        Of course you’re being charitable for giving him credit for having an argument in this first place. This poor hysterical fool HAS no argument. He is worked up about supposed words he has never even heard from Milo, based on the comments of other people who have never heard them either, because they simply refuse to listen.

        • Rollie

          Ispanker, how do you get italics to appear in your comments? Do you know how to do boldface and strikethrough too?

          • California Defender

            Use normal HTML tags. Here are a few:

            Bold
            Italics
            strikethrough
            underline

            Just remove the spaces, of course. Keep fighting the good fight, brother!

          • Rollie

            Thanks!

    • zzz

      Does it bother you that anyone who doesn’t agree with your political opinions as fact is a defacto Nazi?

    • lspanker

      Does it bother you that you don’t have a clue what you are talking about?

    • Killer Marmot

      So here’s the logic…

      1. Nazis need to be censored, and when possible, physically assaulted.
      2. Anyone who’s a conservative, or even a classic liberal, is a Nazi.

      Anyone see a problem with this? You in the back there?

    • FreedomFan

      Another random marxist troll invoking “hitler” and “nazi” to smear anyone who disagrees with him. LOL!! Dims are laughingstocks. That’s why Trump will win re-election.

    • Graeme Stewart

      Get Cal students to censor themselves and destroy their own free speech.
      3D Chess

  • roccolore

    Democrats are fascist cowards who hate free speech.

  • zzz

    Yvette was barking into a mega phone around 130 on telegraph, some folks started chantin “usa USA” over her. I considered joining in, not because I’m a fan of that group, just because yvete is such a piece of work.

  • Killer Marmot

    “It’s a challenge,” Felarca said. “To protect the community … and making it a sanctuary campus, that means actively defending.”

    The only protection that’s needed is from her and her thugs.

    • BerCaley

      Protection provided, cupcake. Now did your pederasty spokesman have an important message said on your behalf?

      • Killer Marmot

        I didn’t hear Yiannopoulos speak today, and I’m not a fan of his, sunshine.

        • BerCaley

          That is just soo broad minded of you, cupcake. You’re whining about the non-violated free speech rights of someone you’re not even a fan of because … liberals. It just warms my soul that strong hearted keyboard warriors such as yourself take the time out of your busy day to fight the good fight in a college newspaper’s comment section. It’s folks like you who will Make America Great Again.

          • Killer Marmot

            You’re whining about the non-violated free speech rights of someone you’re not even a fan of because … liberals.

            When you understand why someone might advocate for the rights of those who he doesn’t agree with, then you’ll have grown up a little, petunia.

            It’s folks like you who will Make America Great Again.

            Not a Trump fan either, daffodil.

          • BerCaley

            > Not a Trump fan either

            That is just soo sweet, cupcake. Are you another Fakebertarian?

          • Killer Marmot

            You have nothing to offer except snark. Do get back to us when you have something substantial. Last post.

          • BerCaley

            Promise?

          • Graeme Stewart

            My guess is BerCaley is a Berkeley junior, maybe recent grad, that hates seeing the safe school they picked cause they didn’t get a real school like Stanford or Harvard raked through the mud of exposer. Enjoy!

          • lspanker

            Are you capable of articulating your own position and defending your reason for standing up for it, or do you merely engage in childish insults to deflect attention for your noted deficiencies in this particular area?

          • BerCaley

            Cupcake, I asked a simple question which could have gotten a simple answer. “Now did your pederasty spokesman have an important message said on your behalf?”

            Did he?

            My own position is that, like you, Milo has no worthwhile views and that he, like you, is only here to troll liberals. You can of course, prove me wrong there by quoting something your pederast said which would be worthy of Edmund Burke.

            Floor’s yours, cupcake.

          • Graeme Stewart

            I guess at Berkeley speech isn’t free. It must be heavily vetted and meet an ambiguous standard of rigor. How am I not shocked.

          • FreedomFan

            Yes, Milo is only there to troll leftists like you. It worked.

          • BerCaley

            So we can conclude that you have no message, no ideas.
            Y’all just don’t like us leftists. Got it.

          • FreedomFan

            Leftist goofballs believe in 57 genders but only two political positions:
            Theirs & “Nazis”

      • zzz

        You are white nationalist level irrational and vile.

        • BerCaley

          Impressive. You evidently have typing skills but then lack basic logic. I’m supposing that if we left you in a room with a typewriter that you would eventually produce Shakespeare but it may take awhile.

          • zzz

            “Keep screaming kids they will pull over”

          • lspanker

            You’re the last one who should be lecturing us about logic, He Who Keeps Changing His Handle. You haven’t offered much here besides the usual hollow feigned outrage and whiny adolescent snark…

          • BerCaley

            Yes, I did change my handle.

      • roccolore

        You fascist Democrats are the cupcakes who hate free speech.

    • California Defender

      She is out of jail on bail.

      She should be due back in court soon as she has been charged with multiple felonies, assault by means of force likely to inflict great bodily injury, inciting a riot, and participating in a riot.

      • Killer Marmot

        I’m sure her lawyer has advised her to have no more to do with BAMN and make no public statements, but she wants to be a martyr to the cause. Perhaps the prosecuting attorney can accommodate her.

  • Cliff Vincent

    all the groups that were preventing him from speaking are obvious fascists. its amazing the mental gymnastics these lunatics employ to try to make out the person they are silencing to be the oppressor

    • BerCaley

      You can guess but then since you’ve never been here you really don’t know anything.

      • California Defender

        No guessing needed as the street gangs of mental gymnasts are listed in the article: BAMN and Resist (Less) Fascism. But where was Antifa? I guess they must stay hidden in their coffins until the dead of night.

        As you know, sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.

  • EECS student

    “and I wanted to see how crazy it would get,” will you still say this if happens at your campus and you have many midterms coming up BCC student?

    • Graeme Stewart

      If something as stupid as milo holds you back from studying then I am willing to bet you are wasting your time in college and your better off just getting an internship to learn how to be an adult first.