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via @shane_bauer / Twitter

University protestors shut down Milo Yiannopoulos event

The right-wing troll was due to speak at UC Berkeley until riots broke out on campus

A university speech by divisive right-wing troll Milo Yiannopoulos was cancelled last night, after students started a campus riot to protest his appearance. 

The controversial event was due to take place at the University of California, Berkeley, but was shut down after thousands of students turned up to protest. While the demonstration was initially peaceful, it was reportedly cancelled after a group of anti-fascist activists caused fires by shooting fireworks at the venue.

A spokesperson for the university police announced the cancellation on Twitter, citing “major protest attacks”. They also warned those on campus to “shelter in place.” At the time of writing, there have been no arrests or injuries.

Yiannopoulos – who currently works as a Breitbart News editor – is known for his racist, transphobic and sexist views. Using “free speech” as his defence, he actively incites hate and rallies his fans to abuse people. Last year, he was permanently banned from Twitter after he encouraged his followers to racially abuse Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones. The actress ended up having her iCloud hacked, and nude photos, driving license and passport details published. 

“I have been evacuated from the UC Berkeley campus after violent left-wing protestors tore down barricades, lit fires, threw rocks and Roman candles at the windows and breached the ground floor of the building,” Yiannopoulos wrote on Facebook last night. “My team and I are safe. But the event has been cancelled. I'll let you know more when the facts become clear. One thing we do know for sure: the Left is absolutely terrified of free speech and will do literally anything to shut it down.”

The troll was due to speak at Berkeley as part of his “Dangerous Faggot” university tour – an event that has been sparking protests throughout the U.S since 2015. Despite this, Berkeley chancellor Nicholas Dirks defended his right to speak in a statement last week.

“In our view, Mr. Yiannopoulos is a troll and provocateur who uses odious behaviour in part to ‘entertain,’ but also to deflect any serious engagement with ideas,” Dirks wrote. He also added that, while the Breitbart editor was “at odds” with the values of the school, allowing him to speak was “important” in our “current political moment.”

“Universities support free speech and condemn censorship for two reasons – to ensure that positive, helpful, illuminating messages can circulate widely, and to expose hateful or dangerous ideas that, if never engaged or rebutted, would gain traction in the darker corners of our society,” he added, quoting UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman. “Hate speech is like mold: Its enemies are bright light and fresh air.”