UC Berkeley Demonstrations "Mostly Peaceful" Police Say

Janis Mara (BCN)
Sunday September 24, 2017 - 04:46:00 PM

The speeches and demonstrations at the University of California at Berkeley's Sproul Plaza today were mostly peaceful, with no injuries and only two arrests, campus police said. 

Groups attending the event have dwindled and the roadways in the area south of campus are now open, Berkeley police said. 

"We did have increased security measures in place," said UC Berkeley police spokeswoman Sgt. Sabrina Reich. "We had to make sure the individuals on both sides who were coming to our community would be safe." 

She said that only a couple of minor scuffles broke out during the event, in which Milo Yiannopoulos, a far-right self-described "troll" - widely defined as someone who deliberately sows discord online - spoke at Sproul Plaza around noon for about a half-hour. 

"Even though the student group canceled the event, he (Yiannopoulos) was able to speak," Reich said. 

She was referring to the fact that the Berkeley Patriot student organization Saturday morning told university officials that all the events scheduled for the so-called "Free Speech Week" planned for this week were canceled. 

Groups opposing the far right appeared at Sproul Hall today to counter-demonstrate. 

Reich said there were only two arrests. 

"One was for unauthorized amplified sound in violation of university code. The individual was cited and released," Reich said. 

"The second was a stay-away order violation. The individual was taken into custody and booked into the City of Berkeley jail," Reich said. 

Campus police set up barriers to the approach to Sproul Plaza and screened attendees for prohibited items such as sticks or weapons, Reich said.