Posted by on February 1, 2017
Categories: Bay Area

(BANT) – A planned speaking event by controversial far-right writer and speaker Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California at Berkeley has been cancelled this evening as tensions rise with protesters at the scene, according to police.

Yiannopoulos’s events have drawn tense protests throughout the country, including a recent event that was cancelled shortly before it was scheduled to begin at the University of California at Davis due to angry protests outside.

Hundreds of protesters were observed at this evening’s event. Over 2,100 people responded to a Facebook post that they would be attending. At least one fire has been lit on campus, in the Sproul Plaza area, as of 6:25 p.m.

UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said today that the university Police Department called in officers from other UC campuses in the area, including Davis, and could ask for help from Oakland police and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office if necessary.

He said that they have studied how the protests have escalated at other campuses and planned accordingly.

“The concerted effort was to really take a close look at lessons learned at other events,” Mogulof said.

After being invited by Berkeley College Republicans, students at UC Berkeley have called for the school to cancel the event and ban Yiannopoulos from the campus.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks responded to the outcry with an open letter to the campus community last week, affirming that Yiannopoulos would be allowed to speak because of the free speech rights of the campus Republicans, but said that Yiannopoulos’s message is at odds with the values of the campus.

Dirks called him a “troll” and “provocateur.” Critics have said that Yiannopoulos is misogynistic, anti-Islam and racist. Campus republicans called him “amusing and provocative” in the event invitation.

Yiannopoulos has been a journalist for right-wing news publication Breitbart under Steve Bannon, now an advisor to President Donald Trump. He has a book coming out later this year published by Simon & Schuster, a deal that was widely protested.

Tonight’s event was sold out.