Trump threatens UC Berkeley with funds cut after Breitbart editor's speech is canceled following riot

CNBC with Reuters and AP
UC Berkeley cancels Milo Yiannopoulos speech after riot
UC Berkeley cancels Milo Yiannopoulos speech after riot

President Donald Trump threatened the University of California, Berkeley with a cut in federal funding after the school canceled a Breitbart editor's speech amid violent protests.

In a tweet early Thursday, Trump said:

If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS?

The school went into lockdown on Wednesday amid a violent protest over a planned appearance by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. Demonstrations broke out and a small group of protesters wearing black and hooded sweatshirts broke windows threw smoke bombs and flares.

"This was a group of agitators who were masked up, throwing rocks, commercial grade fireworks and Molotov cocktails at officers," said UC Berkeley Police Chief Margo Bennett.

Bennett said police determined at that point they couldn't guarantee security, canceled the event and evacuated the Breitbart News editor from the building. School officials said on Twitter that the campus was on lockdown.

There were no immediate reports of arrests or serious injuries, she said.

Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, previously headed Breitbart News and CNN reported that many of the protesters voiced opposition to the Republican president.

Police ordered protesters at the liberal-leaning university to disperse and a short time later at least one fire erupted when protesters ignited a light post outside a building, according to CNN, which broadcast footage of the demonstration.

Protesters shattered windows at the same building and threw firecrackers and rocks, according to CNN. The crowd appeared to number in the hundreds.

Yiannopoulos' scheduled appearance came on the day that his college grant program for white males began taking applications. Critics blasted it as fanning white nationalism. In July, he was banned from Twitter for tweeting abusive comments toward specific users, including African-American comedian Leslie Jones.

In a statement on Facebook, Yiannopoulos said he was "evacuated" from the Berkeley campus and criticized "the Left," saying it was "absolutely terrified of free speech and will do literally anything to shut it down."