The Latest: Streets around UC Berkeley closed before speech

The Latest on University of California, Berkeley boosting security ahead of a speech by a conservative commentator (all times local):

1 p.m.

Several streets around the University of California, Berkeley, have been closed off with concrete and plastic barriers ahead of a campus appearance by former Breitbart News editor Ben Shapiro.

School officials say they have sealed off Sproul Plaza — the central hub of the campus — and created a perimeter around several buildings, to ensure the safety of students and those attending Shapiro’s sold-out appearance Thursday evening.

UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof says the school is committed to hosting a safe and successful event.

UC Berkeley Police Chief Margo Bennett says there will be several checkpoints outside the 1,000-seat auditorium, and officers will be looking to confiscate banned items, including shields, masks, bandanas, poles and torches.

The city and campus have become a flashpoint this year for the country’s political divisions, drawing extremist groups from the left and right.


8 a.m.

The University of California, Berkeley is ramping up security as it braces to host conservative commentator Ben Shapiro Thursday night.

Authorities plan to seal off the campus’ central hub, Sproul Plaza, with a “closed perimeter” around several buildings including where Shapiro is set to speak to a crowd of 1,000.

The university says there will be “an increased and highly visible police presence” and police will quickly arrest protesters wielding weapons or wearing masks.

The city and campus at UC Berkeley have become a flashpoint for the country’s political divisions, drawing extremist groups from the left- and right-wing.

Four political demonstrations have turned violent in Berkeley since February, prompting officers to come up with new strategies to control rowdy and sometimes dangerous crowds.

Campus Republicans invited Shapiro to speak.

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