Ann Coulter a no-show at raucous but peaceful Berkeley rally
- Author: Phil Peters May 08, 2017,
May 08, 2017, 15:53
Antifascist and anarchist protesters turned a crowd of students protesting Yiannopoulos in February into a violent mob breaking windows and setting fires, and police advised university officials to cancel his speech. Six people were arrested - one for obstructing an officer and wearing a mask to evade police, and another for possessing a knife.
A rally in support of Ann Coulter has wrapped up in Berkeley, and the conservative provocateur did not make an appearance despite hints from her and hopes from supporters that she might. "Berkeley College Republicans do not want to endanger people's lives so because of the university's unwillingness to do their job we are forced to cancel the event", Troy Worden, president of the campus Republicans, said Wednesday.
Coulter said in an email to The Associated Press that she might stroll across campus to greet supporters and "stroll around the graveyard of the First Amendment". Significant violence never ultimately erupted, and some attendees expressed regret that Coulter never appeared. They clashed with a group of Trump critics who called themselves anti-fascists.
Of course, the security fee practice serves as a perverse incentive for those who wish to disrupt or have canceled events by conservatives, since threats of protests and disruptions prior to the event can necessitate the security fees and, often, the eventual cancellation of the event as a result of this penalty-the so-called 'heckler's veto.' If there are legitimate security concerns over potential reactions by protestors to the speaker's words, that is an issue that can addressed through law enforcement, suspensions, or other appropriate punishment for offenders.
The conservative commentator said that the University of California, Berkeley canceled her event. Civic Center Park, a city park several blocks from the campus.
There's no Ann Coulter speech planned.
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But fear not, Anne Coulter's speech will still be read, technically. Another group called the Orange County Alt Right Group planned a rally in the same place.
"I don't like Ann Coulter's views but I don't think in this case the right move was to shut her down", said 24-year-old grad student Yevgeniy Melguy, who held a sign earlier in the day saying "Immigrants Are Welcome Here".
Kamau Bell, host of the show "United Shades of America", declared on Thursday the cancellation of college speakers like Ann Coulter is a matter of protecting students from so-called hate speech and has nothing to do with free speech.
Berkeley College Republicans filed a lawsuit on Monday claiming that University of California at Berkeley violated students' rights to free speech when it failed to provide a safe venue for conservative firebrand Ann Coulter's speaking event. It is certainly inequitable that the victims of the protestors-the groups who sponsor the speakers whose events are disrupted-now have to bear the cost for the actual or imagined unlawful behavior of protestors who have made a decision to suppress thought they hate. The tension illustrated how Berkeley has emerged as a flashpoint for extreme left and right forces amid the debate over free speech in a place where the 1960s US free speech movement began before it spread to college campuses across the nation.
Rathi actually had the nerve to tout his support for free speech in the exact same piece where he seems to suggest that it's a good thing to limit speech when it comes to people like Yiannopoulos and Coulter - and he somehow thought that this kind of logically inconsistent drivel was actually cohesive enough to publish. Far-right and far-left groups have been implicated in multiple violent confrontations.
The police said they were limiting access to one of the university's main plazas and searching individuals for "restricted items" such as "weapons (real and simulated), improvised weapons, tasers, hard plastic/metal/bottles, chains, banners/signs, explosive and incendiary devices".