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President Trump Threatens U.C. Berkeley After Protests Stop Far-Right Speech

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President Trump Threatens U.C. Berkeley After Protests Stop Far-Right Speech

Trump, Berkeley

(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Thursday to cut funding to the University of California at Berkeley after protesters smashed windows and set fires at the liberal-leaning school, forcing the cancellation of an appearance by a far-right Breitbart editor.

“If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” Trump wrote on Twitter at 6:13 a.m. EST (1113 GMT). He did not elaborate.

Representatives for the university, which has 38,000 students and a long history of activism, could not immediately be reached for comment outside of the school’s business hours.

Like other major U.S. research universities, Berkeley depends on federal agencies for scientific grants and other support. It was not immediately clear, however, what action Trump could take without authorization from Congress, or without risking legal action.

Trump’s chief White House strategist, Steve Bannon, previously headed Breitbart News.

Hours before Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos was to give a speech at Berkeley’s student union on Wednesday, hundreds of protesters clashed with police at the campus.

Demonstrators tossed metal barricades and rocks through the building’s windows and set a generator on fire near the entrance, footage from news outlets showed. Police ordered the crowds to disperse, and the school was put on lockdown.

“We shut down the event,” one protester told CNN. “It was great. Mission accomplished.”

In a statement, the university blamed about 150 “masked agitators” for the violence during the otherwise mostly peaceful demonstration by about 1,500 people.

The school “is proud of its history and legacy as home of the free speech movement” in the 1960s, the statement said.

Many of the protesters voiced opposition to Trump, CNN reported. The president’s executive orders and proposed policies, including his suspension of the U.S. refugee program and temporary ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, have triggered largely peaceful demonstrations by tens of thousands of people across the United States.

Yiannopoulos, whose Twitter account was suspended last year after he was accused of participating in the online harassment of a black actor, told Fox News he was rushed to safety by his security guards and police after protesters began throwing rocks.

“Obviously it’s a liberal campus so they hate any libertarians or conservatives who dare to express an opinion on their campuses,” he said. “They particularly don’t like me.”

(Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles and Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Lisa Von Ahn)

IMAGE: Police officers prepare to deploy a skirmish line after a student protest turned violent at UC Berkeley during a demonstration over right-wing speaker Milo Yiannopoulos, who was forced to cancel his talk, in Berkeley, California, U.S., February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam



  1. ORAXX February 2, 2017

    Standing up against hate speech, is free speech.

    1. TZToronto February 2, 2017

      And you get what you pay for. Talk like a fascist, and get treated like you are one. He can dish it out, but he can’t take it.

      1. ORAXX February 2, 2017

        I’m generally in favor of free speech and do not believe unpopular opinions should be repressed. This individual, however, has a history of what can only be described as hate speech. These events are funded through student fees, and the students have every right to object.

        1. itsfun February 2, 2017

          They don’t have the right to burn property and harm other people just because they don’t agree with them. That is a riot not a protest.

          1. ORAXX February 2, 2017

            I agree, they have no right to riot.

          2. dpaano February 3, 2017

            It accomplished nothing except to make the speaker’s notoriety more “out there.” And, it gave 45 another chance to be a jerk!

        2. dpaano February 2, 2017

          Yes, but they could object more vehemently by just boycotting his speech. Nothing is more embarrassing than to get up to speak and having NO audience!!! That would have spoke more words than burning and looting!

    2. dpaano February 2, 2017

      Yes, but burning generators, breaking windows, etc., is NOT part of free speech!

      1. Fur Hunter February 3, 2017

        I have never had any problems with any group protesting in a peaceful and civil manner. BUT……when there is destruction of property, that was paid for by business owners or private owners, that is where I draw the line. Violence and destruction ARE NOT speech.

        1. dpaano February 3, 2017

          I agree, but apparently the ones causing all the disorder, looting, burning, etc., were non-students! This is the problem….activists take over what would be considered a peaceful protest and make it into a riot! Then, the students get blamed for the problems that these individuals cause! It’s very sad! As you said, violence and destruction are NOT speech and are NOT viable means of protesting!

  2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth February 2, 2017

    “45” has resolutely determined to set himself on a path towards a cataclysmic ending for himself—and perhaps Democracy as we know it in the US. By threats and posturing like an authoritarian gone berserk, Lord Fauntleroy is making himself out to be the archetype of a one-man lynch mob. Unless Congress comes to its senses, discovers it indeed has a spine, and relieves “45” of duty—one that he was clearly unfit to fulfill from the get-go—then “45” will wish he had taken up Basket Weaving in his twilight years.

  3. Godzilla February 2, 2017

    The little Commie protesters are all inclusive as long as you believe as they do. Had this happened to a gay Liberal, you dick’s would be screaming “homophobes” . This is one reason your not taken seriously anymore, just a bunch of Commie thugs who need your heads split open when you choose to get violent. This isn’t anything new and your message is as old as your views are unAmerican



    1. iamproteus February 2, 2017

      The article indicates a campus of 38,000 students. It further indicates a crowd of 1500 of which the bad actors number about 150. So you choose to incriminate the entire University and trump threatens to withdraw federal funding. You and he both need to grow the hell up!

  4. yabbed February 2, 2017

    Who does this fool think we are? North Korea? This is America. We have Constitutionally protected rights to assembly and to speech. We can protest whatever we want whenever we please. Trump should have taken Mr Kahn up on his offer of his copy of the Constitution. Trump clearly has no clue about the Constitution.

    1. itsfun February 2, 2017

      The Constitution does not give the right to burn property, hurt people, loot, that is rioting, not a peaceful assembly or protest.

      1. yabbed February 2, 2017

        No one said anything about a right to “burn property, hurt people, loot”. You fascists really would be happier in Russia or North Korea than in America where rights are protected and honored.

        1. itsfun February 2, 2017

          When you defend what happened at Berkley, you are defending rioting. There is no right to riot. You would be happier in a country where you can destroy the rights and properties of others. How afraid of free speech are you when you don’t want to allow someone with another point of view to talk?

          1. yabbed February 2, 2017

            Go away. No one is defending rioting. You’re saddled with an incompetent loser who is destroying the integrity and good name of this country. That’s worthy of endless protests.

          2. itsfun February 2, 2017

            Not going anywhere. I’m not saddled with anything. How can President Trump destroy and integrity when Obama already did that with his deals, red lines, lies.

          3. I of John February 3, 2017

            hate brings more hate. Unfortunately, this just the beginning.

          4. itsfun February 3, 2017

            Just like last night. At least there were some arrests. Why is the tolerant left so afraid of free speech?

      2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth February 2, 2017

        Just a broken record, aren’t you. Nothing new from you—just the same old same old.

  5. rednekokie February 2, 2017

    I suspect the tRumpelthinskin has messed with the wrong dog house, in picking a fight with UC Berkely. Will have to wait and see on this — but they never, in the past, have put up with such idiots as the orange haired bigot.

  6. itsfun February 2, 2017

    People have the right to to assembly and to speech and to protest. When people burn, hurt other people, they are not protesting, they are rioting.

  7. stcroixcarp February 2, 2017

    Why isn’t trump screaming about the alt-right paid thugs doing violence to clean cut college kids? Hey, if he can make up alternate facts, so can I!!

  8. latebloomingrandma February 2, 2017

    This protest and property damage is really not the POTUS’s concern. It belongs to the college, the police dept., or perhaps the governor if the National Guard is needed. By the way, what is Trump doing about the people who sustained all the tornado damage that occurred in the south under his watch? I thought they asked for federal help. Where’s the news reporting?

    1. dpaano February 2, 2017

      Yeah, what ever happened to that? We suddenly hear NOTHING about what’s going on in the south. I wonder if FEMA was ever sent in to help anyone….the silence is deafening!

  9. dpaano February 2, 2017

    I’m not sure I agree wholeheartedly with these activists. There IS such a thing as free speech, and even someone from Breitbart has the right to speak. If they don’t want to hear what he has to say, they don’t have to attend his speech. But, to burn a generator, break windows, etc., is NOT the way to make your feelings known!!! If you want to boycott a speech, that is the better way!! It would be extremely embarrassing to have NO ONE show up to hear you speak…..

    1. iamproteus February 2, 2017

      There were (according to the article) approximately 1500 protesters and of that number, approximately 150 bad actors. Why is everyone painting all 1500 with the same broad brush? What a perfectly conservative thing to do!!

      1. dpaano February 3, 2017

        I agree….apparently the protesters who were causing most of the damage on campus were not even students! I wonder why the students themselves didn’t make any attempt to stop these people from burning and looting their school!! I understand they may have felt the same way about the speaker, but for them to allow people that are NOT students to come in and wreck their campus is ridiculous!

    2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth February 2, 2017

      You’re right that protests should be done in a respectful way. But as you already know, 45 isn’t concerned about property but is bothered that the protesters aren’t focused on his exalted image.
      And an empty audience indeed speaks volumes.

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