[guest post by Dana]
In the aftermath of a right-wing rally Sunday that ended with anarchists chasing attendees from a downtown park, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin urged UC Berkeley on Monday to cancel conservatives’ plans for a Free Speech Week next month to avoid making the city the center of more violent unrest.
“I don’t want Berkeley being used as a punching bag,” said Arreguin, whose city has been the site of several showdowns this year between, on the one hand, the left and its fringe anarchist wing, and on the other, supporters of President Trump who at times have included white nationalists.
“I am concerned about these groups using large protests to create mayhem,” Arreguin said. “It’s something we have seen in Oakland and in Berkeley.”
Believing that the presence of “right-wing” speakers would cause left-wing, militant thug extremists to become violent and out of control, the mayor believes the only workable solution is to cancel events involving “right-wing” speakers. You know, as opposed to increasing the presence of law enforcement and arresting those who break the law:
I’m very concerned about Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter and some of these other right-wing speakers coming to the Berkeley campus, because it’s just a target for black bloc to come out and commit mayhem on the Berkeley campus and have that potentially spill out on the street.
And about that pesky issue of free speech:
“I obviously believe in freedom of speech, but there is a line between freedom of speech and then posing a risk to public safety,” the mayor said. “That is where we have to really be very careful — that while protecting people’s free-speech rights, we are not putting our citizens in a potentially dangerous situation and costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars fixing the windows of businesses.”
Because more speech that challenges the status quo could never be a solution, or something…
On a side note, Ben Shapiro is scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley on Sept. 14. And UC Berkeley is charging the organizers $15,000 to exercise their First Amendment rights.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)