February 03, 2017
President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday morning: “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?”
His tweet came hours after protesters threw smoke bombs, broke windows and lit fires, aiming to interrupt a planned speech by Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos, a Trump supporter.
The rioters succeeded: The event was called off and Yiannopouos was escorted safely off campus.
According to the Associated Press, there were no immediate reports of serious injury — or even arrests, despite the damage done.
“This was a group of agitators who were masked up, throwing rocks, commercial grade fireworks and Molotov cocktails at officers,” the Associated Press quoted UC Berkeley Police Chief Margo Bennet as saying.
The protest reportedly began as a peaceful rally, with students carrying signs that read “Hate Speech Is Not Free Speech.” Other signs read, “Become Ungoverned,” “Resist,” and “Queers Bash Back.”
“The event has been cancelled,” Yiannopoulos eventually posted on his Facebook page. “I’ll let you know more when the facts become clear. One thing we do know for sure: the Left is absolutely terrified of free speech and will do literally anything to shut it down.”
The Berkeley College Republicans said its “constitutional right to free speech was silenced by criminals and thugs.”
“Their success is a defeat for civilized society and the free exchange of ideas on college campuses across America,” it said in a statement.
Early Thursday morning, UC-Berkely tweeted, “All clear for shelter in place. Routine campus business and classes will be held (Thursday).”