Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro delivered a speech to an enthusiastic audience at UC Berkeley on Thursday night, despite attempts by Antifa and other students to shut down his speech.
Thousands of protesters, held at bay by police in riot gear, insisted that Shapiro, an Orthodox Jew, was a “white supremacist” and a “fascist” for promoting conservative views on the traditionally liberal campus.
“I’ve spent my entire career standing up against fascism. Antifa is fascist. I am not a fascist,” Shapiro told the crowd. “I saw a lot of headlines on the way here about how it was going to cost $600,000 in security for this event. And that is not due to me. I mean I’m not the one out threatening to break windows. It’s not due to you. You’re here listening.”
“It’s due to the Antifa hard-left morons who are out there breaking windows,” Shapiro continued. “Freedom isn’t free. It costs over $600,000 thanks to Antifa.”
After leftist students threw Molotov cocktails, rioted in the streets of Berkeley, and caused over $100,000 in damage to shut down a February speech by Milo Yiannopolous, Berkeley police set up a half-mile wide perimeter and dispatched hundreds of armed police to protect Shapiro and his audience.
The event was deemed a huge success by the Berkeley College Republicans, with hundreds of thousands of people watching the speech live online.
“After allowing leftist thugs to rule the city, the police finally took a stand and took back control of Berkeley,” Naweed Tahmas, Vice-President of the Berkeley College Republicans told Red Alert Politics. “Additionally, after our last three events were canceled, there remained a conservative void on campus. This time, students had the opportunity to listen to a perspective that is traditionally not heard in UC Berkeley classrooms.”
“Students also had the opportunity to challenge and debate our speaker,” Tahmas continued. “The university has failed in their duty to provide students with a breadth of different ideological viewpoints and to promote open debate. [S]tudents had the opportunity to debate a prominent conservative commentator. The Berkeley College Republicans took the lead in facilitating open and civil debate.”
Peter Van Voorhis is a conservative activist, commentator, and journalist who focuses on political issues affecting millennials. Find him on Twitter @RepublicanPeter.