Hundreds of student demonstrators gathered on the UC Berkeley campus on Wednesday night to protest a talk by right-wing pundit and author Ann Coulter. About “six or seven” people were arrested in or outside the event, school officials and police said. One protester was reportedly arrested inside the auditorium where Coulter was speaking.
A grinning Coulter, who was invited to speak at the university by the Berkeley College Republicans, was escorted onto campus by a group of police officers at around 9 p.m.
She was greeted by a throng of protesters who shouted “Fuck Ann Coulter! Fuck Ann Coulter!”
Lois Beckett, a reporter with The Guardian, estimated that up to 1,000 protesters had gathered outside Berkeley’s Wheeler Hall to disrupt Coulter’s speaking engagement. Dozens of police in riot gear stood guard.
The protesters created human chains to block the entrances of the building and yelled at attendees of the event as they attempted to get inside, Beckett said. The demonstrators chanted slogans like “Ann Coulter go away, immigrants are here to stay” and “Fuck white supremacists.”
Videos show a woman surrounded by security as she shouts that Coulter is a “fucking Nazi.” The crowd is heard laughing and applauding as the woman is taken away by security. It’s unclear whether the woman was arrested.
“We need an immigration policy that’s good for the people who already live there,” she said, according to student journalist Skylar Schoemig who attended the event.
“By definition, we’re the freest country in the world ― so any immigrant we bring in from any place would make us less free,” Coulter added, noting that this would include immigrants from England.
Berkeley College Republicans said Wednesday night that more than 400 people had attended Coulter’s event. But Schoemig estimated that about 200 people were in attendance.
One attendee suffered injuries, police said, after being “victimized in the crowd.” The person, whose condition is not known, was reportedly transported to the hospital.
Coulter’s appearance at the university comes more than two years after the author canceled a scheduled speaking engagement at Berkeley over security concerns.
A student protester told Berkeleyside on Wednesday that they were appalled the university had not intervened to prevent Coulter from speaking on campus.
“Her views are not something we should give a platform to,” the student, identified only as Jack, told the paper. “That was true in 2017 and that’s still the case.”
“It’s even more appalling because today is Transgender Day of Remembrance,” Jack, who is transgender, added. “I’m here to represent my community as a queer and trans student. It’s appalling that the administration would even consider having someone with extremely hateful rhetoric.”