UC Berkeley prepares for possibly violent 'Free Speech Week'

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- The University of California Berkeley is preparing for the worst ahead of an event called, Free Speech Week led by political commentator Milo Yiannopulos, whose event earlier this year deteriorated into a riot.

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"You guys led a protest and set the school on fire and got national attention -- and that's why all the people are here," said Berkeley student Aaron Wasserman. "If you would have just let him speak none of this would have happened."

Wasserman, a philosophy student, debated political organizers planning to protest.

"We've got to have the whole community coming out to shut them down -- and to defend the wellbeing and safety of this community," said BAMN member Yvette Felarka.

Cal says "Free Speech Week" will cost $1 million, mainly to ensure student safety during the event.

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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.

More officers are being brought in as the speaker list evolves.
"Because of the unknown, we are treating it as if it's going all the way," said UC Berkeley Police Chief Margo Bennett.

"We are caught between a rock and a hard place -- our compliance with the First Amendment, and the law as a public institution is not discretionary," said UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof.

Some students say they're caught in the middle too.

"I'm going to see how it looks on Monday and decide whether or not I'll go to class," said student Laila Elias.

"This is a good school, I'm a philosophy student, I can hear opposing viewpoints. If I hear something that is especially egregious or is egregious I should be able to make that question for myself," Wasserman added.

Students in the Berkeley Patriot group are hosting the event, scheduled from Sept. 24 - 27.

Click here for a list of speaker times according to the event's website.
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