- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 15, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The Latest on free speech and safety concerns for events planned in the San Francisco Bay Area (all times local):

6 p.m.

Berkeley College Republicans say they are requesting a smaller space for a Sept. 14 event featuring former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro, as they try to work out the logistics with the University of California, Berkeley.

Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ said Tuesday that the university was determined to allow Shapiro to speak, despite security concerns.

She said officials offered Zellerbach Auditorium, which seats about 2,000, but officials say the audience size has not been determined.

Berkeley College Republicans Vice President Naweed Tahmas said the group can’t afford the proposed security costs.

He accused the university of placing an undue burden on conservative speakers.

Campus spokesman Dan Mogulof says security costs range from $5,800 to $9,000, depending on how many people attend. He says UC Berkeley has agreed to waive hall rental costs.


2:20 p.m.

San Francisco’s mayor is calling on federal officials to reject or significantly modify permission for a right-wing political organization called Patriot Prayer to hold a rally in the city on Aug. 26.

The National Park Service told the organization its permit to hold a three-hour rally on San Francisco’s Crissy Field was approved last week, before the violent encounters involving neo-Nazis and others in Virginia last weekend.

Crissy Field is a federal park within the city. Mayor Ed Lee said Tuesday he is concerned that Patriot Prayer intends to promote hate speech that could lead to violence.

Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson didn’t respond to email inquiries. Violence has occurred at previous Patriot Prayer gatherings.

The group held a rally in Seattle on Sunday that drew hundreds of counter protesters, but no violence.


1 p.m.

University of California, Berkeley is confirming that former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro will be allowed to speak in a large campus auditorium next month and it is preparing for the event with tight security.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ says the university is committed to protecting free speech and determined to host Shapiro, despite concerns about violent protests.

Christ held her first news conference Tuesday as the university’s new chancellor.

She declined to specify security arrangements for the Sept. 14 event but said she is working closely with campus and city police.

Berkeley’s reputation as one of the country’s most liberal universities has made it a flashpoint for the nation’s political divisions since Donald Trump’s election.

Berkeley College Republicans vice president Naweed Tahmas did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.


(This item has been corrected to remove incorrect seating capacity of the campus auditorium).

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