UC Berkeley responds after violent protests force cancelation of Yiannopoulos appearance

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Thursday, February 2, 2017
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The U.C. Berkeley campus sustained significant damage during the Milo Yiannopoulos protests that erupted prompting the cancelation of the event.

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- UC Berkeley officials responded after a violent protest erupted on the campus in response to a planned speech by controversial Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos that had to be canceled.

The university said the decision to cancel the event was made at 6 p.m., two hours before the event as a crowd of more than 1,500 people gathered on the campus.

"Of paramount importance this evening was the campus's commitment to ensure the safety and security of those attending the event, the speaker, those who came to engage in lawful protest and members of the public and the Berkeley campus community," the school said in the statement.

The university condemned the violence and unlawful behavior, and regretted that "the threats and unlawful actions of a few have interfered with the exercise of First Amendment rights."

RELATED: Yiannopoulos, Shkreli event canceled after protests erupt at UC Davis

He's a self-proclaimed "internet troll" who has been widely criticized for being racist and misogynistic.

Passions started flaring around 4 p.m. between both sides on the Cal campus ahead of Yiannopoulos' 8 p.m. speech. The event is sponsored by the Berkeley College Republicans. Extra police officers were called to monitor the event.

Berkeley's student union vandalized during protest

The protests turned violent shortly before 5 p.m. as the event approached, with demonstrators lighting fires and fireworks on the Cal campus.

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Broken glass litters the ground of the Martin Luther King Student Union at U.C. Berkeley on Feb. 2, 2017.
Wayne Freedman