Show of force works as Ben Shapiro delivers speech to UC Berkeley audience
The violence and destruction that accompanied Milo Yiannopoulos's unsuccessful attempt to deliver a talk at U.C.'s Zellerbach Hall were thwarted last night at the same venue, thanks to the widely reported expenditure of $600,000 on installing jersey barriers and positioning large numbers of police, authorized to use pepper spray. The Antifa warriors were not up for fight with superior forces.
U.C. Berkeley took a bow:
Inside Zellerbach Hall on Thursday night, conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro delivered his speech as planned to an engaged, respectful audience of about 600 to 700 people. Police were present inside the hall, but not highly visible, and no hecklers disrupted the hour-and-half-long event.
Outside, as many as 1,000 people were gathered — some protesters, others onlookers — and a group of up to 50 students occupied a breezeway at the ASUC Student Union, where they'd put up a sign, "Students Against Fascism and War," and interacted with the crowd. They exited the building calmly just before the Zellerbach event ended at 9 p.m.
"There's a sense of relief and satisfaction that the event was able to go forward without disruption, that those who chose to protest did so in largely nonviolent ways and that, overall, things went as well as could be expected," said UC Berkeley Assistant Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Dan Mogulof, at a media briefing later that night.
UC Berkeley Police Chief Margo Bennett said the event was "orderly," attended by people who were "respectful and interested" in the speaker and that it concluded peacefully.
No arrests were made by campus police until around 9 p.m., when a woman not affiliated with the university climbed over a barricade on Upper Sproul Plaza. Earlier in the day, police had set up a closed perimeter around Zellerbach Hall and surrounding buildings, and the campus's César E. Chávez Student Center, Alumni House, Sproul Hall and the ASUC Student Union were closed.
Bennett said the City of Berkeley had made "four or five" arrests before the Shapiro event ended. While she would not say how many officers, some in riot gear, were on duty Thursday, she confirmed that UCPD had been aided by law enforcement from neighboring counties including Contra Costa, Solano and Monterey. "We reached far," she said.
In two weeks, Milo will be back, and so will Ann Coulter and Steve Bannon. If Antifa is going to attack, this would be the juicy target. Will another 600 grand be expended? If so, it goes to show that the cheapest option is standing up to bullies right away.
Grown-ups finally stood up and took control yesterday at both Harvard and Berkeley. Let's hope this is the trend.