Fighting, arrests precede Richard Spencer speech at Michigan State University

By Daniel Uria  |  March 5, 2018 at 8:49 PM
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March 5 (UPI) -- Multiple people were arrested after fighting broke out during protests of white nationalist Richard Spencer's appearance at Michigan State University Monday.

MSU Police Capt. Doug Monette confirmed several arrests were made but didn't provide a total number, Michigan Live reported.

Protesters shouted "Nazis go home" as they confronted a group of Spencer's supporters who arrived at the university's Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education.

About 20 Spencer supporters attempted to walk directly through the crowd, inciting physical confrontations after both groups shouted obscenities at each other, Detroit Free Press reported. Bottles and rocks were also thrown during the skirmishes.

At least 100 police officers including Michigan State Police were on the scene in riot gear and swarmed the crowd to arrest both protesters and Spencer's supporters.

Police had blocked off the venue, which is away from the university's main campus, in hopes of avoiding such fighting.

The event's start was ultimately delayed from 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. and some Spencer supporters chose not to enter the venue, which was surrounded by protesters.

"If you aren't getting protested, you aren't doing anything that matters," Spencer said during the speech.

The university originally planned to charge Spencer's National Policy Institute group $2,000 to set aside a room on campus for the speech, but decided to deny the group the opportunity to speak citing safety concerns.

Spencer's group sued and both sides agreed to let Spencer speak inside the pavilion after being ordered to mediation by a federal judge.

The event was ticketed and Spencer was given control over who is allowed in, denying several local media organizations from purchasing tickets.

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