Far-right editor’s appearance at UC Berkeley canceled amid violence

Violence and protests prompted the University of California Police Department to cancel an appearance by far-right website editor Milo Yiannopoulos at UC Berkeley on Wednesday night.

Police cited concerns for public safety amid violence and destruction of property, according to a UC Berkeley news release. Video posted online showed a fire being set by protesters.

A similar appearance by Yiannopoulos at UC Davis was cancelled last month amid noisy but nonviolent protests.

At UC Berekeley, Yiannopulous, with Breitbart News, was scheduled to speak at Pauley Ballroom at the invitation of the Berkeley College Republicans. The decision to cancel the event was made at 6 p.m., and officers read several dispersal announcements to a crowd of more than 1,500 protesters who were gathered outside the Martin Luther King Jr. ASUC venue, the news release said.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence and unlawful behavior that was on display, and deeply regret that those tactics will now overshadow the efforts to engage in legitimate and lawful protest against the performer’s presence and perspectives,” the university news release said.

An appearance by Yiannopoulos at UC Davis sponsored by the Davis College Republicans was canceled in January. A UC Davis spokeswoman said at the time that the university did not specifically order the cancellation, but said police presented the student group with their concerns about the situation.

Yiannopoulos was to appear at UC Davis with former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli, the hedge-fund founder of Turing Pharmaceuticals who made headlines in 2015 for raising the price of the lifesaving drug Daraprim by more than 5,000 percent. He has been charged with securities fraud and is free on $5 million bail.

Yiannopoulos returned the following day to the UC Davis campus, where he stood on a picnic table outside the Memorial Union to decry the cancellation of his speech.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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