BERKELEY, Calif. ― Milo Yiannopoulos didn’t get his “Free Speech Week.”
What was supposed to be his four-day Woodstock at the University of California turned out to be his alt-right Fyre Festival. It was canceled before it ever began, and the notorious provocateur was forced to offer refunds to travelers during a very sad press conference on Facebook Live.
But Yiannopoulos doesn’t go down without a troll. As he admitted defeat, he promised an “unofficial” rally for his followers on Sunday, effectively mobilizing hordes of counterprotesters, anti-fascists and anyone in his far-right brigade brave enough to face them.
“We are going to be hosting an event, come hell or high water, tomorrow,” he said during his Saturday presser.
He got what he wanted. The “rally” at Sproul Plaza on campus brought hundreds of demonstrators out, including Antifa activists and Yiannopoulos supporters. Police set up barriers with metal detectors before letting them into the area.
The British media personality showed up around noon to speak to a smattering of supporters and sign autographs. However, thirty minutes into his arrival, Yiannopoulos fled the area as his security detail escorted him to a white SUV.
Sunsara Taylor with the New York City-based activist group Refuse Fascism called Yiannopoulos a “salivating sycophant for Trump” and took aim at the White House in a speech to crowds.
“We’re glad Milo got canceled but we’re here because we have white supremacists in the White House. Trump and Pence have got to go.”
Antonio Freeman, who identified himself as a bodyguard for the alt-right celebrity troll Baked Alaska, stood outside Sproul Plaza and scoffed at anti-fascists speaking into a megaphone. The 26-year-old Los Angeles area resident says he’s part of the anti-government militia group Oathkeepers but opted not to show up in uniform.
Freeman said he was here “just supporting free speech. Just making sure people stay peaceful, that people are out here respecting each other and making sure things don’t get too heated.”
“No bad optics,” he added, referring to the violence that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month that left one anti-racist protester dead. “No Charlottesville stuff. Can’t have that anymore. Just a civil discourse.”
He claimed to know Yiannopoulos personally but said he was more supportive of speakers today that are American citizens like his friend Mike Cernovich.
But the alt-right icon’s mere…