Last Word: Free speech is too expensive for Berkeley

Berkeley event led by Milo Yiannopoulos faces setbacks amid cancellations, confusion

Chief Margo Bennett of the UC Berkeley Police Department said Sproul Plaza is public space where "anybody can walk on and talk", but she noted that Yiannopoulos had not applied to use amplified sound on the plaza. Those hoping to hear his speech were herded through metal detectors, while demonstrators protesting it were kept behind barricades on Sproul Plaza.

Yiannopoulos spoke briefly to the crowd, sang the national anthem and posed for selfies with supporters before he was escorted away.

Co-organizer Lucian Wintrich of dropped out last week in the run-up to the event, citing disorganization and calling the chaos around the event "a sh*tshow".

The Berkeley Patriot's four-day event was set to begin Sunday and would have been "open to all political ideologies, with speakers representing conservatives, libertarians, and even liberals", the group said.

Milo Yiannopoulos didn't mince his words Saturday, saying he will speak in Berkeley "come hell or high water".

During the rally, 18-year-old college student Edgar Magana wore a "Dangerous Faggot" shirt ― the title of Milo's previous campus speaking tour ― with an American flag wrapped around his neck.

Yiannopoulos announcement came hours after the university announced that it had been informed by the student group Berkeley Patriot that it was withdrawing its sponsorship of Free Speech Week, which was supposed to kick off Sunday with a host of far-right speakers.

University officials said there were no injuries and at least two arrests, including one of somebody allegedly using unpermitted amplified sound. About a thousand people protested peacefully outside until 150 or so masked anti-fascist extremists joined the crowd, smashing windows and setting fires.

Antifa, is expected to be there protesting, as they were when Yiannopoulos attempted to speak at the campus in February. He said he loves how "absolutely outrageous" Yiannopoulos is and how he riles up the left. "I will get all of the people that you were looking forward to seeing here", Yiannopoulos promised. How about some more R29 goodness, right here? "He might just be trolling everybody".

The self-proclaimed troll is in the Bay Area to headline Free Speech Week, organized by student group Berkeley Patriot and slated to run September 24 and September 27.

Kris Hanson, who has four children, said he drove from out of town to rally with fellow Trump supporters. They chanted "say it loud, say it clear, Nazis are not welcome here" and halted traffic at several blocked intersections.

Although the Berkeley Patriot organization distanced itself from its own event, Yiannopoulos took to Facebook to proclaim that he, Pamela Geller, Mike Cernovich and others would still appear at Sproul Plaza on Sunday for the "unofficial university event", now taking shape as a rally. "I want you to know that I share your frustration with the administration and with the media, and that I will take care of you".

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