Wednesday Night was a wild and insane time to be here in Berkeley. The Berkeley Protest over alt-right speaker Milo Yiannopoulos appearing on campus started as a relatively normal affair. We are by no stretch unaccustomed to protests on campus, and in the beginning this one seemed like any other, albeit much, much larger. Yesterday Morning I woke up to a tweet by the moron in chief insinuating that he would withdraw our federal funds because apparently we don’t support free speech.
Glossing over the arguments that have been made all over that this was hate speech and not something to be supported, or that The Berkeley Protest was somehow a sign that the left are the true fascists, I want to make one simple point. The school did everything in its power to ensure Milo’s safety and to try to make sure the event occurred.
In the end, the peaceful protest was hijacked by an anarchist group from Oakland, dressed in all black and set to simply cause havoc. I was there for much of it, observing, taking pictures, talking to the protesters, and the overall sentiment that I got was that nobody was happy with the violence. We pride ourselves here on our protests and support for social causes. While we despise Milo, we love our school and our community too much to want to destroy it. That was the goal of the violent perpetrators who began the evening by pulling down a light generator that caught fire.
I’m pleased that Milo had to run away and cancel the last stop on his speaking tour, he does not deserve the attention he gets. Milo is nothing more than a provocateur, feeding on the hatred he generates. That said I am not happy about the way it happened. The majority of us just wanted to drown out his speech inside. So here are some of the pictures and videos I took of the evening. All I can offer is my firsthand view.
Of course there was a good selection of Protest signs.
And A Marching Band Appeared Out Of Nowhere
So for better, or worse, it happened. The world looked at us the next day and called us evil, but I saw an entirely different story. A protest that was intended to provide solidarity and hope descended into chaos. Now we have to pick up the pieces and move onward.