Protests in response to the scheduled talk by Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California, Berkeley, turned violent and and the controversial journalist’s talk was cancelled.
Pictures have emerged of some people throwing smoke bombs and smashing up ATMs, while a fire was also started.
It was the last stop of a tour aimed at defying what he calls an epidemic of political correctness on college campuses.
The British 32-year-old is a vocal supporter of Donald Trump and a self-proclaimed internet troll whose comments have been criticised as racist, misogynist, anti-Muslim and white supremacist. He’s currently banned from Twitter.
Hundreds of peaceful demonstrators carrying signs that read “Hate Speech Is Not Free Speech” had been protesting for hours before the event.
Then, things turned ugly as a group of protesters broke windows, threw smoke bombs and flares at a building and started a large bonfire.
Some protesters began pulling away metal barricades as police in riot gear guarded the building. Police advised people to stay away from the student union building.
According to an official statement from the university, over 1,500 protesters gathered around the student union. Campus officials said “they regret that the threats and unlawful actions of a few have interfered with the exercise of First Amendment rights on a campus that is proud of its history and legacy as the home of the Free Speech Movement.”
In an oddly sweet ending to the story, some students took to the streets after the protests to clean everything up.
The visit to Berkeley was sponsored by the campus Republican club. Several of Yiannopoulous’ talks at other campuses had previously been cancelled due to protests or security concerns.