Stephen Ellison

‘We're Going to Continue to Stand Up for Free Speech': Group That Invited Milo Stands Firm

Berkeley College Republicans say cancellation of speech and violent protests a blessing in disguise for their cause

As things got back to normal Thursday night on the UC Berkeley campus, the group that invited Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at the university says the chaos may have been a blessing in disguise.

While the night after seemed peaceful, there was still tension on the Cal campus in the aftermath of Wednesday night's violent protests. Republicans wearing the red "Make America Great Again" caps couldn't walk across campus without being taunted.

The Berkeley College Republicans feel even though the violence ultimately canceled their event, their message has been taken to another level.

"What happened last night was basically domestic terrorism," said Matt Ronnau of the Berkeley College Republicans.

Ronnau and his collegues watched out for each other as they walked through campus Thursday, the potential for violence keeping them on edge.

"We essentially invited Milo Yiannolopous to speak because he brings up taboo and not politically correct topics that we want a discussion of," he said.

Some of the violence Wednesday night included people being attacked and their hats being burned. The attacks didn't stop Thursday as one of the club members was assaulted by two nonstudents passing by.

On Thursday night, the Berkeley College Republicans were moving forward with a regularly scheduled meeting on campus.

"We’re going to continue to stand up for free speech," club President Jose Diaz said.

Diaz welcomed first-time attendees. Many in the group believe the failure to exercise free speech Wednesday night was a win for their growing group.

"In essence, what these people are trying to shut down, they put a microphone to it," Diaz said. "It became national news."

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