Tags: Berkeley Free Speech Week Canceled

Berkeley 'Free Speech Week' Canceled

Image: Berkeley 'Free Speech Week' Canceled

Berkeley Police officers stand guard for a planned speech by Milo Yiannopoulos in Berkeley, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. (Daisy Nguyen/AP)

By    |   Monday, 25 September 2017 04:30 PM

The University of California at Berkeley's "Free Speech Week" was canceled Saturday due to safety concerns.

A student group from the University of California had spent months planning the event, noted The Washington Post, but opted to call the four-day event off amid ongoing violent clashes between far-left and far-right protesters.

The decision came after Berkley was rocked by unrest in February as anti-fascist protesters fought to stop a speech by controversial speaker, Milo Yiannopoulos.

The right-wing provocateur said in a news conference Saturday that he would not be deterred by the cancellation of the event and would hold an unofficial one "come hell or high water," according to the Post.

Yiannopoulos arrived the following day but his appearance was brief and watered down.

The former Breitbart employee spent less than half an hour posing for photographs, signing autographs and chatting to a small group of supporters at the Sproul Plaza before being whisked away by his security detail.

Yiannopoulos's appearance is believed to have cost the university over $800,000 in security and has been described by university spokesman Dan Mogulof, per East Bay Times  as "the most expensive photo op in the university's history,"

Prior to Sunday's events, the Post revealed that the student group driving "Free Speech Week" had circulated an email stating it had been "subjected to extraordinary pressure and resistance, if not outright hostility by campus officials," since announcing the decision to host the event.

The email stated that, based on the actions of the university, the planned event would be canceled.

According to the Post, Mogulof dismissed these claims, adding that "the university was prepared to do whatever was necessary to support the First Amendment rights of the student organization."

The planned screening of a film that highlights the threat posed by the Antifa group was also canceled at Berkley because of violence fears.

Called "America Under Siege: Antifa," the documentary accuses the supposedly anti-fascist group of being fascist.

"I'm extremely disappointed by the cancellation of this screening and 'Free Speech Week' as a whole. This is a major blow to the First Amendment, which will hopefully be remedied in court," the film's producer Jake Klein said in a statement.

"The fear of violence at this event, which was key to its cancellation, does not lie at our hands nor with anyone else involved in organizing it. That fear lies at the hands of those who would and have used violence. Let's be clear: Antifa shut down a film screening criticizing Antifa through fear."

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The University of California at Berkeley's "Free Speech Week" was canceled Saturday due to safety concerns.
Berkeley Free Speech Week Canceled
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2017-30-25
Monday, 25 September 2017 04:30 PM
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