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UC Davis Republicans cancel speech by Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos following protests

Conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos in 2015.
Conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos in 2015.
(David Ng / Los Angeles Times)

Rowdy protests at UC Davis on Friday night forced the cancellation of speeches by conservative firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos and former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli.

After consulting with university police, Davis College Republicans decided it was unsafe to continue the event after a large number of protesters blocked access to the venue, according to a release from the school.

UC Davis Interim Chancellor Ralph Hexter said he was “deeply disappointed” by the protests and the cancellation.

“Our community is founded on principles of respect for all views, even those that we personally find repellent,” Hexter said in statement after the cancellation. “As I have stated repeatedly, a university is at its best when it listens to and critically engages opposing views, especially ones that many of us find upsetting or even offensive.”

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Yiannopoulos, who writes for Breitbart, is a provocateur whose language dovetails with the so-called “alt-right” movement, although he disputes that classification.

Shkreli stepped down as the head of Turing Pharmaceuticals last year after he was charged with securities fraud. He was heavily criticized in 2015 for raising the price of a lifesaving malaria medication.

ben.poston@latimes.com

Follow @bposton on Twitter.

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