UC Berkeley closes streets during Ben Shapiro speaking engagement at Cal

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Several streets around UC Berkeley have been closed with concrete and plastic barriers ahead of an evening appearance by a conservative commentator - the latest polarizing event to raise concerns of violence on the famously liberal campus. (KGO-TV)

A huge police presence in Berkeley Thursday afternoon as conservative speaker Ben Shapiro is set to speak on campus.

The streets surrounding Sproul Plaza were shut down. Workers boarded up the Bank of America and the heavy barricades were put in place along the streets closed ahead of the arrival of conservative commentator Ben Shapiro

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Ben Shapiro is set to speak at the UC Berkeley campus on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017.



Police say the goal is to prevent a repeat of the violence that caused the cancellation of a speech by Milo Yiannopolis in February.

"We will be abiding by the Chancellor's clear statement that we will not tolerate violence," said Don Mogulof, a UC Berkeley spokesperson.

U.C. Berkeley says they expect to spend about $600,000 on security Thursday.
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With all of the protests that take place across the Bay Area, SF public defenders are reminding residents of their legal rights if they're arrested.



"We can't turn a blind eye...and around the country," said Mugulof.

And this time, U.C. police may not stand down like they did when masked protesters shut down the Yiannpolis event.

In February, protesters set a fire and vandalized Zellerbach Hall through Chief Margo Bennett provided few details about exactly how things will be different, this time.

"I'm not going to specifically talk about tactical information, but certainly we have lessons learned from February 1st when we had that unprecedented attack on our campus," said Bennett.

RELATED: 95-year-old Holocaust survivor vows to march against hate in Berkeley

There are numerous messages ahead of Shapiro's arrival on campus, including a sign hung inside the student union, near the building where he will speak during an event co-sponsored by the college Republicans and the D.C.-based Young America's Foundation.
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Click here for a look back at stories and videos about recent protests around the Bay Area.

Related Topics:
politicsrepublicansdemocratsUC Berkeleycollege studentcollege studentscollegeprotestviolenceUC BerkeleyBerkeley
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