Conservative writer Milo Yiannopoulos was forced to cancel a planned speech at the University of California after black-clad demonstrators went on a fiery window-smashing rampage that shut down the Berkeley campus.
“The scheduled performance by Milo Yiannopoulos has been cancelled,” the university posted on its official Twitter feed.
According to CNN footage and reporter Kyung Lah, U.S. flags were burned, several other fires were set, and windows and other fittings at the auditorium had been smashed.
Mr. Yiannopoulos had been scheduled to speak at the student union, but demonstrators were throwing smoke bombs and flares.
“Very scary energy here; people are looking very delighted” at the cancellation, Ms. Lah said as cheers could be heard. “People wanted to shut this down.”
Campus police ordered a campus-wide lockdown and issued a “shelter in place” order, the department posted on Twitter.
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“One thing we do know for sure: the Left is absolutely terrified of free speech and will do literally anything to shut it down,” Mr. Yiannopoulos posted on his Facebook page.
Ms. Lah was in the midst of hundreds of demonstrators, about half of whom, she said, were in student gear, and many were in black clothing and masks symbolic of anarchists.
“What is riding over all this is national politics” and the election and policies of President Trump, she said on the air.
She noted after the cancellation that demonstrators, carrying banners such as “this is war,” were in a party mood and dancing to a rap song that mentions Mr. Trump.
Jeffrey Lord, a conservative CNN commentator who has been on Mr. Yiannopoulos’s shows, said that while peaceful protests of any speaker are fine, this was a totalitarian tactic typical of American liberals.
“This has been a serious problem of the American left for decades. It’s part of their DNA,” he said, citing then-Gov. Ronald Reagan calling out the National Guard against student protests at that very campus.
“This is frankly Nazi-style behavior … it has no place in American life, I don’t care who the speaker is,” he said.
Mr. Lord acknowledged that Mr. Yiannopoulos is a “provocateur.” An earlier series of campus speeches was titled the “Dangerous Faggot Tour.”