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Right-wing professional provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos took the stage nearly an hour early at the 496-seat Spanos Theatre at Cal Poly on Tuesday, launching into his “No More Dead Babies” talk in front of a full house. “This is a moment in culture where you can stand up and say enough, no more,” he told the audience. “Because you have demonstrated in voting for someone like Donald Trump ... You are uniquely situated now in a presidency that is making the left’s heads explode.” Read more »»
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The Cal Poly Office of University Diversity and the student government hosted a free show featuring comedian W. Kamau Bell in response to outcry over Yiannopoulos’ appearance sponsored by the Cal Poly College Republican Club. Read more »»
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Update 6:15 p.m.
Milo Yiannopoulos has taken the stage at Cal Poly’s Spanos Theatre, about an hour earlier than he was scheduled to take the stage. Protests continue outside of the theater, with riot police on scene.
Update 5:30 p.m.
Protesters burned a Confederate flag outside the Spanos Theatre, while a small crowd watched from across the street. The first audience members are being admitted into the theater.
Update 4:50 p.m.
About 60 protesters gathered at Mott field and are walking through the Cal Poly campus, carrying signs and chanting.
At the same time, a long line of ticket-holders waiting to get into the Spanos Theatre to see conservative firebrand Milo Yiannopolous has started to move. Although the doors were scheduled to open at 6 p.m. for the 7 p.m. event — Yiannopolous’ talk titled “No More Dead Babies” — but ticketholders, some wearing red “make America great again” hats, were being moved inside a fenced area to separate them from demonstrators.
Meanwhile, the demonstrators’ chants are aimed at broader issues than the Yiannopolous appearance. Voices called out “no justice, no peace, no racist police,” “this is what democracy looks like,” “say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here.” One protester said the demonstration was in solidarity with other protests around the country in reaction to executive orders issued in the last week by President Donald Trump.
Police from numerous agencies outnumbered the protesters, and took up positions around the Performing Arts Center, on building rooftops and along sidewalks. Police agencies include the campus police, San Luis Obispo police, State Parks, California State University police and others.
Original story: Cal Poly has erected fences and flood lights around the campus Performing Arts Center and stationed a SWAT vehicle and police dogs nearby in preparation for the evening speaking appearance of gay, British conservative pundit Milo Yiannopolous.
Yiannopoulos, an editor of the right-wing Breitbart News, will bring his “Dangerous Faggot” tour of college campuses to the PAC’s Spanos Theatre at 7 p.m. His talk at Cal Poly Tuesday is titled “No More Dead Babies.” Yiannopoulous’ caustic approach lambasting Muslims, feminists, overweight people and liberals has drawn criticism and protests at each stop.
Police were walking the area around the theater Tuesday afternoon. By about 3:30 p.m., some protesters were beginning to gather.
Cal Poly’s University Police Department has worked with California State University campuses and local police agencies to handle the protesters expected to arrive outside the theater before the event starts. Several groups planned protests, including one calling itself San Luis Obispo Anti-Racist Action, which called for demonstrators to wear masks and attempt to shut down Yiannopoulos’ talk.
In an attempt to diffuse the situation and to offer “safe spaces” for minority students, the university’s Cross Cultural Centers will be kept open during the event.
The Cal Poly Office of University Diversity and the student government have offered a competing free show by comedian W. Kamau Bell, titled “Unite Cal Poly,” at the PAC’s larger venue, the Christopher Cohan Center, also at 7 p.m.
On Jan. 20, a 32-year-old man protesting Yiannopoulos’ talk at the University of Washington sustained a gunshot wound in the stomach after a scuffle; the shooter, a Trump and Yiannopoulos supporter, said he was acting in self-defense and was released by police after questioning.
A scheduled Jan. 13 appearance by Yiannopoulos at UC Davis was canceled because of protests outside, which reportedly also saw Martin Shkreli pelted in the face with feces. Shkreli — a pharmaceutical executive who has received criticism for hiking up the price of the HIV/AIDS drug Daraprim — was scheduled to be a co-speaker at the Davis event.
In the past week, Yiannopoulos has stopped at the University of Colorado, Boulder; University of Colorado, Colorado Springs; and the University of New Mexico. Each event reportedly had a heavy police presence to monitor large protests. No cancellations have occurred, but three people were arrested in Boulder, including two for misdemeanor assault.