Huge police presence necessary to protect the #FirstAmendment at #UCBerkeley

Concrete barriers, metal detectors and clusters of police officers were in place Thursday afternoon as UC Berkeley officials prepped for the 7 p.m. appearance of conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro.

The event at Zellerbach Hall appeared to do what UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ has said she hoped for when she declared a free speech year on campus: provide an open exchange of ideas. Shapiro’s speech included a question-and-answer session.

Security cost the university an estimated $600,000. Police from all nine Bay Area counties were brought in to keep order on and off campus and to secure Zellerbach and the surrounding area, which was off-limits to anyone without a ticket to the event.

The large contingent of law enforcement was a deterrent, said Margo Bennett, of the UC Berkeley police.

Source: Ben Shapiro takes stage at UC Berkeley under ‘extraordinary’ security – San Francisco Chronicle

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