Free speech activists took over MLK Square at the University of California at Berkeley on Thursday, to read Ann Coulter’s planned speech on her behalf. A small number of counter protesters were also present at the start of the event.
As the free speech activists arrived, police warned that anyone wearing a mask would be arrested.
Journalist Tim Pool is live on the scene:
Pool estimated that there were 300-400 free speech activists, and a handful of leftist counter protesters.
The Oathkeepers and the Proud Boys were on scene to provide security for those in attendance.
— Maine First Media (@MaineFirstMedia) April 27, 2017
Coulter’s event was cancelled the day before the event was set to take place due to the university and police refusing to guarantee the safety of the speaker and those who wished to attend. Militant far-left extremists, who have rioted in the city on multiple recent occasions over right wing speakers, made “specific, significant, and real” threats of violence, according to the university chancellor.
“The University has two non-negotiable commitments, one to Free Speech, the other to the safety of our campus community members, their guests, and the public. In that context, we cannot ignore or deny what is the new reality. Groups and individuals from the extreme ends of the political spectrum have made it clear their readiness and intention to utilize violent tactics in support or in protest of certain speakers at UC Berkeley,” Chancellor Nicholas Dirks wrote in a leaked email to staff which made it clear that the former home of the 1964 Free Speech Movement now caves into political violence to quell dissenting views.
Stepping in to replace Coulter was comedian and pundit Gavin McInnes, author and co-host of Virtue of the West podcast Brittany Pettibone, Kyle Chapman — better known as Based Stick Man, and YouTuber Lauren Southern. Also in attendance were Tim Treadstone — better known as Baked Alaska and Irma Hinojosa of the group Latinas for Trump.
“We will read Ann’s speech. The show must go on,” McInnes told Big League Politics.
— Elizabeth ⓧ (@Lizzy_OMalley) April 27, 2017
“In fact, that’s what America is: it’s a show that must go on. Entrepreneurs don’t take no for an answer. Housewives ground you if you’re insubordinate. Cops arrest you even if you demand their badge number,” he added. “We plow forward. When I saw Ann had been prevented from speaking, I knew I had to pick up the slack. It’s why I immigrated here. I love America.”
“Free speech is a god-given right and I don’t care if I have to take pepper spray to the face to defend it,” Lauren told Pool on his livestream during the event.
Hinojosa, Treadstone, Southern, Chapman and Pettibone also spoke at “Patriot’s Day” a free speech event in the city earlier this month, which was also violently attacked by militant anarchists.
“We understand that freedom of speech isn’t about one person, no matter how renowned. It’s about Americans as a whole and in general, which is why we felt it would be just as significant and effective for average citizens such as ourselves to step in and take a stand,” Pettibone told Big League Politics.
Our Fuck Antifa Rally is ON! Let's show Antifa and UCB that we will not be silenced. 2151 M.L.K. Jr Way, Berkeley, CA 94704 2PM BE THERE! https://t.co/UJJN7fa0gX
— ????????Based????Stickman???????? (@BasedStickman_) April 26, 2017
The university is currently being sued by the organizers of the Coulter speech.
“In each of the three recent conservative speech censorship instances, UC Berkeley impermissibly has allowed a ‘heckler’s veto’ to suppress the free speech rights of speakers properly invited by recognized student groups, and in each case, did so after first attempting to bully the students out of pursuing their quest to hear these alternative voices by piling on requirement after unconstitutional requirement – ‘security fees,’ inconvenient hours, inconvenient locations, attendance restrictions, and more,” Harmeet Dhillon of Dhillon Law Group, which is representing the student groups, wrote in a letter to the university last week.
Dhillon noted that the university, once a beacon of free speech, is now “leading the vanguard to silence conservative speech on campus.”
As we previously reported, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin happens to be a member of the Facebook group of far left militant organization, By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), who has been orchestrating the riots.
Wait, WHAT!? The mayor of Berkeley is a member of BAMN? Is that why we were arrested the moment we went near their leader Felarca? pic.twitter.com/nIjqPCVtwN
— Gavin McInnes (@Gavin_McInnes) April 21, 2017
BAMN was named by the FBI in 2005 as thought to be involved in domestic terrorist activities.