People gathered around Wheeler Hall at UC Berkeley to protest Ann Coulter’s talk on Wednesday, Nov. 20th. Barricades were set up around the building at 5 p.m. The event was planned to start at 8:00 p.m.
Coulter, a right-wing pundit known for her anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric, was hosted by the Berkeley College Republicans for her talk titled, Adios, America. The Berkeley College Republicans, a student group at UC Berkeley, advertised the event saying that Coulter would talk about “the current United States immigration system and the dangers of mass immigration.”
Protestors started gathering at around 7:00 p.m. to protest the event and attempt to prevent Coulter and event attendants from entering the building. By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), otherwise known as the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary, a student group at UC Berkeley, organized the protest.
Protesters formed a picket line outside the building with onlookers standing to watch. They chanted phrases including “No Trump, No KKK, No racist USA,” “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Ann Coulter has got to go,” and “The cops and the klan go hand-in-hand.” Throughout the protest, other phrases were shouted like “Black Lives Matter” and “This is Ohlone Land.”
Later in the evening, protesters linked arms to block event attendants from entering the building. Some protesters were allegedly punched and pushed by the event attendants trying to enter Wheeler Hall. Two protesters entered the building and were arrested after speaking out against Coulter. The protest lasted around five hours with the last of the protestors leaving at around 12:30 a.m.
A few protesters were detained, released, and cited. Citations given included resisting arrest.
“I was in a crowd when a white man assaulted me. He tightly gripped my arm and shoulder and started to push me. He then slapped me on my face and attacked me,” Michelle Cardenas, a UC Berkeley student and member of BAMN said. “What’s crazy is that I then got brutally pulled on the floor by UC Police, handcuffed and arrested. The white man who physically assaulted me was able to walk free, unpunished.”
Days leading up to the protest, various groups on campus sent out messages suggesting that community members avoid campus due to the potential attendance of far-right, militant fascist groups. Potential “counter-programming” was also to be held in other spaces on campus including near the College of Natural Resources.
Cheyenne Tex, Dua Shamsi, and Troy Orozco Lopez contributed to this piece.