Saturday 18 November 2017

Protesters force US university to cancel talk with controversial UK journalist

Protesters watch a bonfire on Sproul Plaza during a rally against the scheduled speaking appearance by Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos on the University of California at Berkeley campus on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Berkeley, Calif.(AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Protesters watch a bonfire on Sproul Plaza during a rally against the scheduled speaking appearance by Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos on the University of California at Berkeley campus on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Berkeley, Calif.(AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Protestors against a scheduled speaking appearance by polarizing Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos fill Sproul Plaza on the University of California at Berkeley campus on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Berkeley, Calif. . (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
A Trump supporter clashes with a protester during a rally against a scheduled speaking appearance by Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos on the University of California at Berkeley campus on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
A police officer watches a crowd of protesters from atop the University Union near California Polytechnic State University's Spanos Theatre ahead of Milo Yiannopoulos' talk on campus in San Luis Obispo, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017.
A protester is arrested at the Mathematics building during the Milo Yiannopoulos speech at the University of Colorado campus in Boulder, Colo., Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. (Jeremy Papasso/Daily Camera via AP)
Protesters including Jasper Cliff, at center, outside of the Mathematics building during the Milo Yiannopoulos speech at the University of Colorado campus in Boulder, Colo., Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. (Jeremy Papasso/Daily Camera via AP)
Protesters stand at the Mathematics building before the Milo Yiannopoulos speech at the University of Colorado campus in Boulder, Colo., Jan. 25, 2017. ( Jeremy Papasso/Daily Camera via AP)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A talk by a controversial journalist at a US university was cancelled after protesters threw smoke bombs and started a fire.

Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos had been due to speak at the University of California, Berkeley.

It was the last stop of a tour aimed at defying what he calls an epidemic of political correctness on college campuses.

The British 32-year-old is a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump and a self-proclaimed internet troll whose comments have been criticised as racist, misogynist, anti-Muslim and white supremacist.

Protestors against a scheduled speaking appearance by polarizing Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos fill Sproul Plaza on the University of California at Berkeley campus on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Berkeley, Calif. . (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Protestors against a scheduled speaking appearance by polarizing Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos fill Sproul Plaza on the University of California at Berkeley campus on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Berkeley, Calif. . (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

University spokesman Dan Mogulos said officials were advising the campus to shelter in place and to stay away from the student union building, where Mr Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak.

A group of protesters dressed in black and some in hooded sweatshirts broke windows, threw smoke bombs and flares at a building and started a large bonfire outside the building.

A police officer watches a crowd of protesters from atop the University Union near California Polytechnic State University's Spanos Theatre ahead of Milo Yiannopoulos' talk on campus in San Luis Obispo, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017.
A police officer watches a crowd of protesters from atop the University Union near California Polytechnic State University's Spanos Theatre ahead of Milo Yiannopoulos' talk on campus in San Luis Obispo, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017.

Some protesters began pulling away metal barricades as police in riot gear guarded the building.

Hundreds of peaceful demonstrators carrying signs that read "Hate Speech Is Not Free Speech" had been protesting for hours before the event.

A protester is arrested at the Mathematics building during the Milo Yiannopoulos speech at the University of Colorado campus in Boulder, Colo., Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. (Jeremy Papasso/Daily Camera via AP)
A protester is arrested at the Mathematics building during the Milo Yiannopoulos speech at the University of Colorado campus in Boulder, Colo., Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. (Jeremy Papasso/Daily Camera via AP)

The visit to Berkeley was sponsored by the campus Republican club.

Several of Mr Yiannopoulous' talks at other campuses had previously been cancelled due to protests or security concerns.

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