Chris Enloe 4 hours
Hundreds of violent protesters caused more than $100,000 worth of damage at UC Berkeley this week when demonstrators gathered to protest Milo Yiannopoulos, who was scheduled to give a speech at the school last Wednesday.
Yiannopoulos was never able to give his speech and police escorted him from the campus “amid the violence and destruction of property and out of concern for public safety,” according to CNN.
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Still, police did not arrest any of the rioters.Black-clad protesters wearing masks threw commercial-grade fireworks and rocks at police. Some even hurled Molotov cocktails that ignited fires. They also smashed windows of the student union center on the Berkeley campus where the Yiannopoulos event was to be held.
The violent protesters tore down metal barriers, set fires near the campus bookstore and damaged the construction site of a new dorm. One woman wearing a red Trump hat was pepper sprayed in the face while being interviewed by CNN affiliate KGO. She was able to respond that she was OK after the attack.
BERKELEY, CA – FEBRUARY 1: Protesters march off the UC Berkeley campus on February 1, 2017 in Berkeley, California. A scheduled speech by controversial Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos was cancelled after protesters and police engaged in violent skirmishes. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
However, this wasn’t the first time UC Berkeley, which used to be seen as a symbol free speech, has dealt with riots on campus.
More than 40 years ago in 1969, protests erupted — and soon turned into riots — over city plans to turn a vacant lot near campus into a parking lot.
On the early morning of May 15, 1969, the university had a fencing company, with the security of 250 police officers, begin building a fence around the property to keep students off of it so that plans to renovate it could go forward.
Five hours later, more than 3,000 students began protesting on campus. From Berkeley’s “Resource”:
Ronald Reagan, who was governor of California from 1967 to 1975, responded to the riots with force, according to the “Resource.” He declared a state of emergency and sent in 2,200 National Guard troops to “use whatever methods they choose” to restore order.The rally, which drew 3,000 people, soon turned into a riot, as the crowd moved down Telegraph (Ave.) towards the park. That day, known as Bloody Thursday, three students suffered punctured lungs, another a shattered leg, 13 people were hospitalized with shotgun wounds, and one police officer was stabbed. James Rector, who was watching the riot from a rooftop, was shot by police gunfire; he died four days later.
Over the next several days, police and troops arrested nearly 1,000 people, including 200 for felonies, while 500 were booked at the local jail.
Later at a press conference, when Reagan was questioned about his response to the riot and why he didn’t negotiate with the rioters instead, Reagan said, “What is there to negotiate?”
“All of it began the first time some of you who know better…let young people think that they had the right to choose the laws they would obey as long as they were doing it in the name of social protest,” he said.
Reagan’s response to unrest at UC Berkeley was dramatically different than the response on Wednesday, which left administration officials bowing to protesters by canceling Yiannopoulos’s event.
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