BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — A phalanx of police and a campus on virtual lockdown accomplished the University of California, Berkeley administration’s goal of allowing a conservative to speak at the famously liberal school which has become known recently more for its violent demonstrations than for its respectful exchange of ideas.
Hundreds of protesters were allowed to voice their displeasure over the speech by former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro on Thursday night, chanting “no Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA” outside the hall where he spoke. Others held signs objecting to the university hosting Shapiro.
The cost of the free speech was estimated at as much as $600,000 for security, according to UC officials.
“For the most part it was an orderly event, attended by respectful orderly people,” UC Police Chief Margo Bennett said. “The crowd in the street was loud, but not violent.”
City police said Friday that officers arrested nine people mainly for having banned items but that there were no injuries or property damage.
Justin Palmer, 31, a UC Berkeley undergraduate student in philosophy, said he opposes Shapiro’s beliefs but still wanted to hear his ideas. He said Shapiro had a right to speak on campus.
“It’s unfortunate that it has to turn into this big spectacle,” he said, referring to the protests and police.
Xochitl Johnson, an organizer with Refuse Fascism, a group protesting Shapiro’s speech, attacked the university for deploying police for what she said was the creation of a safe space for fascists. She said it was wrong for the school to shut…
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