UC Berkeley began issuing dispersal orders after reports of violence, fires and property damage. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

UC Berkeley posted the following statement at 7:25 p.m. It appears below in full. 

Amid violence, destruction of property, and out of concern for public safety, the University of California Police Department has cancelled tonight’s scheduled 8 p.m. performance at Pauley Ballroom by Milo Yiannopoulos, who has been invited to speak by the Berkeley College Republicans.

The decision was made at about 6 p.m., two hours before the event, and officers read several dispersal announcements to the crowd of more more than 1,500 protesters that had gathered outside of the Martin Luther King Jr. ASUC venue. 

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, as well as members of the public and the Berkeley campus community. 

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence and unlawful behavior that was on display, and deeply regret that those tactics will now overshadow the efforts to engage in legitimate and lawful protest against the performer’s presence and perspectives.

The University and the UCPD went to extraordinary lengths to plan for this event and put the appropriate resources in place in order to maintain security. Officials were in contact with other campuses and paid close attention to lessons learned at the speaker’s prior events. Dozens of additional police officers were on duty. Multiple methods of crowd control were in place. Ultimately and unfortunately, however, it was simply impossible to maintain order given the level of threat, disruption, and violence.

We regret that the threats and unlawful actions of a few have interfered with the exercise of First Amendment rights on a campus that is proud of its history and legacy as home of the Free Speech Movement. As Chancellor Dirks made clear in his message to the Berkeley campus community, while Mr. Yiannopoulos views, tactics and rhetoric are profoundly contrary to our own, we are bound by the Constitution, the law, our values, and the campus’s Principles of Community to enable free expression across the full spectrum of opinion and perspective. 

Read the UC Berkeley chancellor’s message, prior to the event, on the Milo Yiannopoulos appearance

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