As expected, there was a good deal of anger and protest Wednesday night about white nationalist sympathizer Ann Coulter showing up on the Berkeley campus to promote her four-year-old book about why immigration is bad.
The number of protesters was in the "hundreds" according to Bay City News and the Chronicle, and "more than a thousand" according to campus newspaper the Daily Californian. But unlike the violent, antifa-led protests two and a half years ago ahead of a scheduled appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos, the UC Berkeley campus was not set on fire this time, and things remained relatively peaceful. Nonetheless, seven people were arrested for reasons that university spokesperson Dan Mogulof did not know last night, as ABC 7 reports.
Videos posted to Twitter show a crush of protesters at one point attempting to storm the event, while police officers in riot gear begin to raise guns toward them. The protesters can then be heard screaming, "Put those down!"
Someone else tried to get in just now cops drew weapons pic.twitter.com/673QaO05Yp— Left Coast Right Watch (@LCRWnews) November 21, 2019
At one point, protesters formed a human chain outside the hall where the Coulter event was set to take place at 9 p.m. The video below was posted just before 10 p.m. but it's unclear when that action happened. The Coulter event happened as planned, with about 350 people in attendance, with police surrounding the building.
Ann Coulter was somehow asked to speak at Berkeley tonight.— Joshua Potash 🆘 (@JoshuaPotash) November 21, 2019
So hundreds have shown up in protest.
Very large crowd out to protest Ann Coulter at UC Berkeley tonight pic.twitter.com/94SOorElRM— Scott Morris (@OakMorr) November 21, 2019
Another video showed Coulter being escorted into Wheeler Hall by what appear to be Berkeley students — likely from the Berkeley College Republicans — while police held back protesters at a distance from the building.
Ann Coulter entering Wheeler Hall with escorts— Марк (@not_mapk) November 21, 2019
Also: two helicopters above Berkeley pic.twitter.com/aYcBJjP7TP
The Daily Cal reports that during Coulter's speech she referred to American immigration policy as "anybody who lives within walking distance," and she said, "By definition, we’re the freest country in the world, so any immigrant we bring in from any place would make us less free."
A video from inside the event shows a female student being escorted out as she screams "Y'all are fucking Nazis man!"
Brave student with @RefuseFascism arrested at UC Berkeley tonight for telling Ann Coulter she's a "fucking Nazi”— Trump/Pence Must Go NOW—#OutNow (@RefuseFascism) November 21, 2019
She IS a fucking Nazi!
Drive these fascists off campus &
OUT OF THE White House.
-> https://t.co/y8URUbAVLi #OutNow #Coulterprotests pic.twitter.com/zmkUklgMKy
The Berkeley College Republicans referred to Coulter as "the figurative architect of President Trump’s policy on immigration," and she has long been a proponent of building a wall along our southern border.
Protesters dispersed around 9:30 p.m. but reconvened when the event let out around 10:30 p.m., according to the Daily Cal. Coulter tweeted Thursday morning that "there was no last question" from the audience because "Berkeley administrators took the mics away."
At a press conference Wednesday night, Mogulof said, "We’re well aware there are members of campus who feel disturbed by the presence of someone they deeply disagree with, and we will provide them with services to support them emotionally and psychologically in the campus community, but we have to abide by the laws of the land."
A rumor went out on Twitter that UC Berkeley spent $800,000 on security and preparations for the Coulter event. That figure has not been confirmed, but that was the dollar amount the school reportedly spent when Yiannopoulos insisted on showing up at the campus for 15 minutes in September 2017.
The Berkeley College Republicans tweeted last night to thank those who attended, "especially those who got punched and kicked while waiting outside." They added, "Your contribution to protecting free speech on campus is invaluable!"
More than 2000 protestors showed up outside our @AnnCoulter event tonight but we were undeterred. We would like to thank all our attendees, especially those who got punched and kicked while waiting outside. Your contribution to protecting free speech on campus is invaluable! pic.twitter.com/p10GdhIFh7— Berkeley College Republicans (@BerkeleyCRs) November 21, 2019