'Rally Against White Supremacy' Takes to Streets of Berkeley - NBC Bay Area
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'Rally Against White Supremacy' Takes to Streets of Berkeley

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    Demonstrators converged at the UC Berkeley campus Monday afternoon for a "rally against white supremacy" two days after a four-day conservative political event was called off. Jodi Hernandez reports. (Published Monday, Sept. 25, 2017)

    Demonstrators converged at the UC Berkeley campus Monday afternoon for a "rally against white supremacy" two days after a four-day conservative political event was called off.

    Monday's peaceful rally began around noon at the Crescent Lawn, which is located at Oxford and Addison streets, in the East Bay city. Nearly 300 people indicated on Facebook that they would be attending the event.

    "We think it’s time to come together in a united front, celebrate our differences in solidarity, and speak out against the hateful currents on our campus while affirming our vision of a free, inclusive, and equitable society," event organizers wrote on the Facebook event page.

    One of the demonstrators, Sheldon Smith, said "We're resisting hate."

    UC Berkeley student Adam Jadhav added "We're not interested in fake framing. This is somehow about free speech. Free speech week was always about hate and harassment week."

    The rally comes one day after right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos made a brief, unsanctioned visit to the East Bay campus. He spoke to a small crowd of supporters, snapped some selfies and signed some autographs all while hundreds of protesters, who were kept away by police, stood and chanted nearby.

    Monday was supposed to be day two of a four-day event billed as Free Speech Week, but the student group Berkeley Patriot on Saturday informed UC Berkeley that the events had been canceled.

    "As a student I'm sad. As someone who supports free speech, I'm sad," said Mike Wright, editor for the Berkeley Patriot.

    Wright said calling off the Free Speech week featuring controversial speakers was a tough decision.

    "It didn't feel safe," he said. "It didn't feel like we were going to get backed up by the university under possibly something going wrong the university implied we'd be liable."

    UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said the university likely spent $800,000 for security measures for events canceled by students.

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