UC Berkeley under tight security for conservative speaker

UC Berkeley under tight security for conservative speaker

September 14th, 2017 by Associated Press in Breaking News

In this Sept. 8, 2017, photo, a woman tapes flyers on a University of California, Berkeley campus bulletin board calling for a protest against right-wing speaker Ben Shapiro in Berkeley, Calif. The university will seal off large parts of its campus like a fortress with a closed perimeter and a "very large" visible police presence Thursday, Sept. 14. City and campus authorities anticipate demonstrations at a speech by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, a former Breitbart editor, and are preparing for possible violence with a variety of new strategies and tightened security. (AP Photo/Jocelyn Gecker)

Photo by The Associated Press /Times Free Press.

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - 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.