DAVIS, Calif. (AP) — A conservative speaker event at the University of California, Davis was canceled after a fight between about 100 protesters and counterprotesters broke out near the venue, university officials said.
The event Tuesday evening (Oct. 25) was put together by a student organization affiliated with Turning Point USA, a group that organizes young people on college campuses to engage in conservative activism, UC Davis officials said in a statement Oct. 26.
The university said the brawl began before a speech by Stephen Davis, who is known as “MAGA Hulk.” It said that according to reports, some of those who took part in the melee wore apparel labeled “Proud Boys” and that witnesses reported people with antifa, a contraction for anti-fascists, were also involved.
The event’s cancelation and brawl at UC Davis came a day after Pennsylvania State University canceled a speech Monday by Gavin McInnes, who founded the Proud Boys, citing the threat of escalating violence as hundreds of protesters and supporters amassed on campus, the university said in a statement.
At UC Davis, the groups fought among themselves, used pepper spray, knocked over barricades and removed traffic cones, UC Davis said. The university didn’t report any injuries.
“Some in the crowd used barricades to beat on the glass of the (off-campus) UC Davis Conference Center, where about 30 people were inside waiting for the event to begin,” it said.
Student Affairs staff who were on site determined there was grave danger should the event continue and the student organization agreed to cancel the event out of concern for people’s safety, it said.
“It is unfortunate that the event could not proceed as planned,” UC Davis said. “As a public institution, UC Davis values and supports freedom of expression as rights guaranteed to every citizen.”
In 2017, the University of California, Berkeley, canceled events featuring conservative speakers, including right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and conservative commentator Ann Coulter, after clashes in which protesters set fires, smashed windows and hurled explosives ahead of the planned speeches.
UC Berkeley’s reputation as a liberal bastion and the birthplace of the 1960s Free Speech Movement made its campus and the city of Berkeley a rallying point for extremist groups from the left- and right-wing after former President Donald Trump’s election.
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