Berkeley releases list of banned objects ahead of ‘Free Speech Week’

Julian Kilchling/File

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The city of Berkeley released a list of items that will be prohibited in three city parks from Sept. 24-27 in light of the planned “Free Speech Week” on the UC Berkeley campus.

The city announced a list of 26 objects in a press release Friday evening that will be banned in Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, Ohlone Park and Willard Park during Free Speech Week.

The list is as follows:

  • Metal pipes
  • Lengths of lumber or wood of any size
  • Wooden dowels
  • Poles or staffs
  • Baseball bats or sticks modified for use as a weapon
  • Glass bottles or metal cans modified for use as a weapon
  • Bricks
  • Rocks
  • Pepper or bear spray
  • Mace
  • Knives or daggers
  • Firearms
  • Shields
  • Axes, axe handles, or hatchets
  • Ice picks
  • Razor blades
  • Tasers
  • Improvised explosive devices
  • Spray cans
  • Fire works
  • Smoke canisters
  • Dynamite
  • Heavy-gauge chain
  • Torches, lanterns or other devices that use fire or fuel
  • Slingshots
  • Any other item that is generally considered an “implement of riot” that can be used as a weapon

Free Speech Week is a four-day event organized by campus publication the Berkeley Patriot. The event, which will feature controversial speakers such as Milo Yiannopoulos and Steve Bannon, has sparked some concern among campus students and staff members regarding both safety and academics.

In the release, the city also said signs and flags must be held by hand and cannot be affixed to any pole or stick during Free Speech Week in any of the three parks. Wearing a mask, scarf, bandana or any other item that covers the face for nonreligious purposes will also be prohibited in the parks, according to the release.

The city is also issuing temporary regulations to restrict certain items, such as bricks, rocks, firearms and dynamite, in an area bounded by Martin Luther King Jr. Way to the west,  Piedmont Avenue to the east, Dwight Way to the south and Cedar Street to the north. The city is able to impose these regulations because of an ordinance that was granted at a City Council meeting Aug. 18, allowing the city manager to issue temporary regulations at unpermitted street events.

“The City will work to safeguard our community while facilitating the peaceful expression of the First Amendment,” the city said in the alert. “If anyone commits a crime in our community, we will work with the community to identify, investigate and prosecute suspects. That applies both during and after the event.”

Chantelle Lee is the city news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ChantelleHLee.