A UC Berkeley student group backed by conservative firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos announced the cancellation of a four-day campus event dubbed the “Free Speech Week”. Yiannopoulos, however, pledged to make the event happen even if that would lead to a violent showdown this weekend.
In a Facebook Live video, the former Breitbart News collaborator told viewers that the event would take place even if the student group has backed down.
“We are going to be hosting an event come hell or high water tomorrow,”
Yiannopoulos, 33, did not offer more details but said a free speech rally would be held on campus “with or without” the campus conservatives’ support. He added that he has a “huge surprise” in store and admitted that the event is not “official,” so he cannot guarantee people’s safety.
Violent Clashes Coming Up
The Portland, Oregon-based conservative group “Patriot Prayer” pledged to attend the rally Saturday, and so did AntiFa protesters. The two groups repeatedly clashed in the past.
It wasn’t immediately clear what groups would show up for the Free Speech Week. Some people have basted the event for lacking essence as its main purpose was to just grab attention. Plus, while some speakers withdrew from the speaker list, amid intimidation from Antifa protesters, most withdrew because they’d rather not attend an event doomed to fail.
School officials noted the event cancellation was made at the last minute after they had already spent important sums of cash to keep students and staff safe. The university had expected a serious disruption of campus life for the Free Speech Week.
The school was about to spend $1 million on logistics and enhanced security because the last time Yiannopoulos showed up violent protests followed. Earlier this year, UC Berkeley spent $600,000 on security when conservative commentator Ben Shapiro was invited.
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