An appearance by conservative writer Ann Coulter at the University of California at Berkeley drew a crowd of protesters Wednesday night, in the latest episode of “cancel culture” on the nation’s college campuses.
“Multiple” mask-wearing protesters were arrested, campus police confirmed on Twitter.
Covering faces is a violation of campus protest policy, the Bay Area’s FOX 2 reported. The station said as many as seven people were arrested.
Video posted online showed Coulter being quickly escorted past protesters into the building where the event, titled, “Adios, America,” was held. It was hosted by the Berkeley campus’ College Republicans.
Coulter started speaking about 15 minutes late because attendees had trouble getting through a “human chain” of protesters who tried to block ticketholders from getting inside the building.
“They can protest all they want and shout their slogans – free speech – I’m cool with that, but I am not cool with having somebody block our way getting in,” said Derrick Main, a Marin County Republican Central Committee member. He told FOX 2 he paid $45 for his ticket.
“They can protest all they want and shout their slogans … but I am not cool with having somebody block our way getting in.”
Conservative writer Andy Ngo posted video that appeared to show a woman having her ticket stolen.
Some of the protesters said they were there to promote left-wing causes.
“We’re here to show our support for DACA and also to protest white supremacy,” Hamid Hakimi, a student protester, told Berkeleyside.
Some protesters said they wanted to see the event shut down, but others agreed Coulter had a right to speak.
“I think it’s important that we hear people like her speak to know that this is real,” a student named Aurora told FOX 2.
“What we’re doing by protesting is showing that her specific speech is not welcome here,” student Gianluca Pedrani told the station.
“What we’re doing by protesting is showing that her specific speech is not welcome here.”
There were two protesters inside the event, but only one was removed because the other agreed to be silent, FOX 2 reported.
The Berkeley campus is frequently the center for free speech debates. in September 2017 a scheduled four-day event dubbed Free Speech Week was canceled over safety concerns. Protesters had sought to silence a featured speaker, provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.
Earlier that year, Coulter canceled an event on the campus, also over safety concerns. She called the situation “a dark day for free speech in America.”
“¡Adios, America!: The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country Into a Third World Hellhole,” is a book written by Coulter in 2015.