Richard Spencer speech at Florida campus sparks mass protest

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Richard Spencer speech at Florida campus sparks mass protest


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Protesters chanting “Go home Nazis” have disrupted a white nationalist’s speech at the University of Florida.

Richard Spencer’s speech in Gainesville prompted Florida’s governor to declare a state of emergency.

Outside the event, hundreds of police officers stood guard as hundreds of demonstrators shouted: “Go home, Spencer!”

His speech comes two months after a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, left a woman dead.

Several dozen supporters of Mr Spencer in the campus auditorium were overwhelmingly outnumbered by protesters who shouted down the speaker.

“I’m not going home, I will stand here all day if I have to,” Mr Spencer said, calling the crowd a mob of “shrieking and grunting morons”.

Audience members continued to heckle him, chanting “Nazis are not welcome here” and “Let’s go, Gators!” – a reference to the college mascot.

The university said it did not want to let “vile” Mr Spencer speak, but was obligated under law to do so.

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Richard Spencer denied he is a white supremacist during a press conference before his speech

Before Thursday’s speech at the college performing arts center, Mr Spencer addressed media to thank university president Kent Fuchs for allowing him to speak, according to the Miami Herald.

The newspaper also reported that two Democratic state legislators filed bills on Thursday to remove all remaining Confederate monuments from the state’s public spaces.

Mr Fuchs tweeted: “I don’t stand behind racist Richard Spencer”.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish anti-bigotry group, flash mobs are being encouraged by the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, at minority and Jewish institutions during the speech.

The college said it would have to spend more than $500,000 (£380,000) on security while state and local police were deployed to campus.

Mr Spencer’s organisation, the National Policy Institute, is paying $10,000 to rent the facility.

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Protesters disrupted the event, raising their fists and shouting as Mr Spencer spoke

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Hundreds of protesters gathered outside, some of whom shouted: “We don’t want your Nazi hate”

Protesters unfurled a sign on campus proclaiming “Love, not hate” and drew chalk designs on a pavement promoting inclusiveness and diversity.

Meanwhile, former President George W Bush decried intolerance while addressing an event in New York.

“Bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed,” he said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors US hate groups, said Mr Spencer is “a radical white separatist whose goal is the establishment of a white ethno-state in North America”.

Mr Spencer has described this week’s emergency declaration by the state governor as “flattering” but “most likely overkill”.

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Mr Spencer, a figurehead of the racist alt-right movement, rose to prominence when he led chants of “Heil Trump” to a Nazi-saluting group in Washington after the president’s election victory.

He also helped to organise August’s rally in Charlottesville, where he was the ringmaster of a large group of far-right activists chanting “Jews will not replace us” and “blood and soil” (a Nazi slogan).

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