Wednesday, February 8, 2017 | An attention-thirsty bigot came to speak at UC Berkeley last night (I refuse to say his name), at the request of the College Republicans. He couldn’t have asked for a better evening. What was originally billed as a peaceful protest quickly turned violent. The bigot didn’t end up speaking to a crowd of several hundred students. Instead, he spoke to a crowd of millions, during an extended interview on Fox News and a series of rants on his Facebook page, where he claimed he’d been evacuated from the campus.
I chose to cover neither the bigot’s speech tonight nor the protest. He has a single card in his deck; I’d seen it before. But when I heard that Sproul Plaza, the campus square half a mile from my house, had descended into chaos, I tuned in. And here’s what I saw: Protesters shouted obscenities; they threw firecrackers and bricks at police; they shattered windows; they set a large fire in the middle of campus; they pummeled a man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat until he bled. Police fired rubber bullets at and deployed tear gas on the crowd after issuing multiple warnings for protesters to leave the area. Students then danced to “We Found Love in a Hopeless Place” and “Drunk in Love” while raising their middle fingers.
Melissa B. Warnke: Contributing writer, Los Angeles (CA) Times' Opinion, , covering politics, violence, gender.
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Janine Jackson interviewed Mara Verheyden-Hilliard about the inauguration protests for the January 27, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.