>> To restore our freedoms.>> Conservative commenter Ann Coulter may have been a no show at Berkeley Thursday, but that sure didn't stop her supporters from showing up.>> If you're for free speech and you're gonna schedule something, you better follow through, you better do it.>> Hundreds of conservatives rallied at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park Thursday for free speech after Coulter's appearance was cancelled out of security concerns.
But those in the park said the rally wasn't really about her.>> I don't agree with much of what Ann Coulter says, but I'm here defending her right to say it.>> Like I said, if somebody wants to get up and say fuck America, and somebody tries to tackle them, I'll defend them.
>> So you're emotional about this as well.>> I feel like we're on the verge of civil war.>> If you see people today that you don't agree with, I wanna challenge you to listen to what they're saying and to not get violent with them.>> Still, many clearly showed up ready for a fight, donning tactical gear after several violent incidences broke out recently.
In February, protestors on campus rioted ahead of an appearance by alt right blogger Milo Yiannopoulos, prompting a cancellation of his speech. And in March and April, bloody clashes between pro and anti Trump protesters broke out near campus, which is why this crowd was ready for anything.>> If I had known the violence could be like it was at Milo speech, I would have been there just to prevent that from happening.
>> Somebody ran up behind me and sucker punched me in the back of the head and in the nose, they have brass knuckles on. It's just we the people are not backing down anymore.>> But Thursday's rally was a tame affair.>> What's the scariest thing I could do?
I could go in the midst of all this and give out free hugs to people. Uh-huh, thank you.>> As for those wearing helmets, gas masks, and military gear, they said they were there to keep the peace, not start trouble.>> I don't promote violence, but I promote the right for anyone to say what they wanna say, no matter how stupid it is.
I also brought weed, I can try to solve the peace that way since it's now legal in California.>> Still, there was palpable hair-triggered tension in the air with many false alarms.>> Yeah, you, you, I'm looking at you. Come out here.>> Why is there a wall around your building?
>> There was heavy police presence in the park Thursday, but no violence. There were even plenty of respectful, yet heated debates that didn't end in brass knuckles or tear gas.>> We don't need more division.>> No.>> It's the time to get together.>> Especially now.>> Kendall.
>> Kendall.>> Nice to meet you, all right.