Sunday 25 June 2017

President in threat to withdraw university funding

US President Donald Trump talks with Harley Davidson executives on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington DC. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump talks with Harley Davidson executives on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington DC. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Lizzie Dearden

Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw federal funds from the University of California at Berkeley after protesters caused a talk by the senior editor of Breitbart News to be cancelled.

Demonstrators hurled smoke bombs, started fires and smashed windows ahead of Milo Yiannopoulos's scheduled visit on Wednesday.

"If UC Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS?" the president tweeted. It was unclear how the threat would be carried out.

Mr Yiannopoulos is a 'senior editor' of Breitbart News, whose former executive chair Steve Bannon has been appointed as Mr Trump's chief strategist. The far-right outlet, supported the president throughout his campaign, has been accused of propagating 'fake news' with its vehemently anti-immigration agenda.

Read more: Protesters force US university to cancel talk with controversial UK journalist

Around 1,500 people gathered to peacefully protest Mr Yiannopoulos's visit before a smaller group of people dressed in black started a wave of vandalism.

As police decided that it could not guarantee Mr Yiannopoulos's security, officers cancelled the event. There were no immediate reports of arrests or serious injuries.

"The left is absolutely terrified of free speech and will do literally anything to shut it down," the commentator said.

Comments by Mr Yiannopoulos, a vocal supporter of Mr Trump, have been criticised as racist, misogynist, anti-Muslim and white supremacist.

Irish Independent

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