Police at University of California, Berkeley, are preparing for violence at the school again, but this time it’s because those protesting the cancellation of a speech by Ann Coulter are vowing to show up.
UC Berkeley canceled an event hosted by the Berkeley College Republicans club that was to feature the conservative firebrand. The university cited security concerns which Coulter dismissed, accusing the campus of another attempt to silence conservative viewpoints.
UC Berkeley Gears Up For Violence Over Coulter Speech Cancellation « CBS San Francisco https://t.co/Zjv9btXGgW
— John Galt (@dhrxsol1234) April 27, 2017
Supporters agree and announced they were planning a rally on Thursday to protest the silencing of their conservative views, CBS San Francisco reported.
The founder of the pro-Trump group, the “Proud Boys” announced he would be at Berkeley to speak Thursday and called on other supporters to join him at the rally, scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at Civic Center Park.
— Gavin McInnes (@Gavin_McInnes) April 26, 2017
McInnes issued a challenge in a video, declaring that “the show must go on,” even if Coulter decided not to appear after all.
“I didn’t intend to do this, but I’m going to hop on plane, right now, and I’m going to do her speech,” he said.
“Our army will be a bigger audience than most of these liberals get when they do talks,” he continued, taking on the so-called anti-fascist groups that have clashed with far-right groups at events like the one scheduled with Coulter.
“I don’t care if we have to use a bull horn and we’re screaming from some random hillside in the middle of Berkeley,” he said.
The City of Berkeley issued a press release Wednesday warning peaceful protesters to avoid violent groups on both sides and to avoid getting “baited by provocateurs.”
“In recent protests in Berkeley, we have seen a small portion who come seeking to hurt others or to destroy property. We have seen that individuals who come armed and armored use peaceful protesters as a cover for their violent actions,” the statement read.
“If you are at a demonstration and you see violence, separate yourself. Keep a distance from violence. If you can do so safely, report it to police,” the statement continued. “People with cameras who surround violent incidents can complicate the safety of other peaceful bystanders and impede police. When individuals commit violence surrounded by a peaceful crowd, police are always concerned about how the violence might spill over onto those who are not committing any crime whatsoever.”
Violence erupted at the campus back in February when demonstrators protested a scheduled appearance by former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, who had to be escorted off campus as rioters set fires and assaulted students.
A speech by conservative writer David Horowitz was cancelled last week due to threats of violent protest.
This week, the liberal university got into a war of words with Coulter after it asked her to reschedule her original appearance date, something the conservative commentator refused to do. While Coulter said the school cancelled the event and blasted them for squashing First Amendment rights, UC Berkeley officials said the event was never officially scheduled to begin with.
The Berkeley College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation have filed a lawsuit against the university, accusing the school of censorship and discriminating against conservative guest speakers.
Other groups planned to join McInnes at Thursday’s rally.
— Mike Tokes (@MikeTokes) April 26, 2017
@Gavin_McInnes @AnnCoulter @Lauren_Southern @FaithGoldy @BrittPettibone The #ProudBoys will go to Berkeley and fight for #FreeSpeech #1A
We welcome all you patriots to join us!
Proud of your Boy @Gavin_McInnes ! pic.twitter.com/39tBnCHiYf
— The Proud Boys ?? (@ProudBoysUSA) April 26, 2017
— Trisha Cress (@trisha_cress) April 26, 2017
Meanwhile, Berkeley is preparing to deal with anticipated clashes on Thursday, vowing to take action against anyone who commits a crime.
“Our mission is to safeguard our community while facilitating the expression of the first amendment” the city said in its statement. “We will work to identify, investigate, arrest and prosecute anyone who commits crimes in our community. That won’t end when the event does.”
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