losangelesnewstoday.com April 26, 2018

Ann Coulter a no-show at raucous but peaceful Berkeley rally

08 May 2017, 03:50 | Amanda Barker

Ann Coulter a no-show at raucous but peaceful Berkeley rally

Ann Coulter a no-show at raucous but peaceful Berkeley rally

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 USA free speech movement began before it spread to college campuses across the nation.

"I'm here for freedom of speech, since it's being squashed everywhere in America by wannabe ISIS ninja guys", said David Fry, president of the American Freedom Motorcycle Association of Tacoma, Washington, who said he came to Berkeley to hear speeches by right-wing figures that were expected to speak.

A right-wing speaker who calls himself Baked Alaska told the crowd that while he loves Ann Coulter, they should remember that "this movement was here before Ann Coulter". Some had "Build That Wall" or Trump stickers across their headgear.

Coulter had publicly floated the idea of making a controversial visit to Berkeley despite the cancellation, but didn't appear.

There are multiple rallies today in response to all of this by those who love Ann Coulter and those who don't.

Something is clearly amiss on campuses, and especially at public institutions like Berkeley where students and faculty must enjoy and are entitled to the same First Amendment rights and protections that they would off-campus.

Police in riot gear Thursday.

Lauren Southern, a Canadian speaker, referred to the clashes with other protesters as "battles" between her supporters, who called themselves "Patriots" and groups like Antifa. Coulter planned to give a speech on illegal immigration.

The university police also made two arrests earlier in the day, bringing the total to at least six arrests. And their point is that they still want to make sure that she knows that she is not welcome here.

The rally Thursday ended peacefully and another was set later in the day.

University police erected barricades and refused to let any protesters enter the campus.

"This is not about free speech".

Neither the university nor the police have disclosed how many officers were involved, but UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said it had backup from a "wide range" of law enforcement agencies. "Please take care of yourselves and each other".

Conservative commentators on Thursday afternoon converged at the Martin Luther King Jr.

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Police in Berkeley are mobilizing on motorbikes, in armored trucks and on foot for possible violence at rallies and protests over Ann Coulter's canceled appearance at the California city's university.

Past rallies by the two sides have descended into bloodshed. But fundamentally, the system of political dialogue and debate is broken, not just on this campus but across the nation.

"They tried to ban her and we can't allow that".

UC Berkeley officials said classes would be held as scheduled.

He is encouraging similar groups to show up for gathering.

Other "alt-right" online figures chimed in.

She said Berkeley claims that the threat of violence is what led to the whole debacle, but she's not buying it.

But Cole said late Wednesday the government cannot define threats to free speech because that could result in censorship.

While Coulter herself said she might make an appearance on campus, she was a no-show.

There were no reports of injuries or damage to property. The speech was canceled over fears of violence.

Another group held signs saying "refuse fascism".

In an appearance on CNN's "The Situation Room", host Wolf Blitzer asked Bell what were his thoughts about college free speech issues and the uproar at UC-Berkeley over conservative speakers showing up on campus.

Capt. Alex Yao of the Berkley campus police force said police presence will be strong Thursday. Campus officials say, well, that violence was perpetrated by outside groups and not students.

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