Police ask to use pepper spray ahead of Berkeley protests
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Police asked the local city council on Tuesday for permission to use pepper spray in preparation for potentially violent protests that might break out over the scheduled appearance of a former Breitbart editor at the University of California, Berkeley, The Associated Press reported. 

The council is reportedly set to vote late on Tuesday on the issue in city hall, where people reportedly showed up to oppose arming the police with pepper spray, saying it could easily harm peaceful protesters. 

Pepper spray has been banned in the city since 1997, Berkeley Police Chief Andrew Greenwood told the AP. The high potential for violent protests at the speech prompted an emergency meeting of the city council to consider allowing pepper spray back into the force's arsenal. 

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The university has tightened security on campus ahead of the event and will have a "closed perimeter" around the building where conservative commentator Ben Shapiro is set to speak, Provost Paul Alivisatos told the Los Angeles Times

The university has a history of violently opposing controversial speakers on its campus, including a protest ahead of right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos speaking there that caused over $100,000 in damage.

Yiannopoulos will appear alongside right-wing speakers Steve Bannon and Ann Coulter at a "Free Speech Week" event planned at the university later this month.