After a controversial start to her three-stop Canadian tour, American right-wing commentator Ann Coulter had her Tuesday evening talk in Ottawa cancelled because of security concerns.
With more than 2,000 people attempting to hear Coulter speak at the University of Ottawa Tuesday evening, security was unable to control the increasingly rowdy crowd.
Some students lined up for hours in the rain hoping to hear the American right-wing firebrand speak on political correctness, media bias and free speech, only to have the event cancelled 30 minutes after its advertised start time.
Coulter is famous for being very outspoken. She has said all terrorists are Muslims and has suggested they be banned from airlines and use flying carpets.
At an event in London, ON earlier this week, a Muslim student challenged Coulter and said she didn't have a flying carpet, to which Coulter responded "take a camel."
Coulter said the remarks were a joke. "They wouldn't be bringing me in here for a speech if I never told a joke, if I never used satire," she told CTV News Channel on Tuesday. "There's a political point behind my saying that they could take flying carpets, the silliness of all this."
In Ottawa, the turnout was several times the capacity of the hall, organizers were forced to turn away many who had not taken advantage of pre-registration. The crowd grew increasingly rowdy, fueled by their frustration over being refused admittance.
The fire alarm was pulled after only 200 people had been admitted to the auditorium. Outside the hall groups chanted, “This is what free speech looks like.” Inside the hall the crowd chanted, “We want Ann” after the announcement was made cancelling the event.
With security concerns and crowd control issues, organizers had cancelled the event and the university called the Ottawa police for assistance to ensure the crowd dispersed in an orderly manner.
No arrests nor injuries were reported.
Ottawa was to be Coulter's second speaking engagement of a three-stop Canadian tour. London, Ontario, was her first stop and she is still slated to speak in Calgary.
Ezra Levant, a lawyer and conservative Canadian blogger, introduced Coulter in London and was to do the same in Ottawa. Levant was angered by what he said was censorship blocking free speech at a Canadian university.
Coulter is accustomed to being heckled but told the Vancouver Sun this is the first time an engagement has been cancelled because of protesters.
“I would like to know when this sort of violence, this sort of protest, has been inflicted upon a Muslim — who appear to be, from what I’ve read of the human rights complaints, the only protected group in Canada," said Coulter. "I think I’ll give my speech tomorrow night in a burka. That will protect me.”
Previous coverage of Coulter's talks in London can be found on DigitalJournal.com here and here.