Protesters Converge on White Nationalist Richard Spencer Event


The university was among a number of public schools that have refused to host Spencer, citing threats of violence similar to what took place in Charlottesville, where his torch-carrying followers, along with the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis, participated in an August 12 "Unite the Right" rally to protest the removal of a statue honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Since that rally, Spencer has attempted to host speeches on other campuses.

Spencer is scheduled to speak at the Phillips Center on the southwest part of campus at 2:30 p.m. 800 tickets were distributed for the event and a large counter-protest is scheduled in the area.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors U.S. hate groups, said Mr Spencer is "a radical white separatist whose goal is the establishment of a white ethno-state in North America". Almost 3,000 people have said they will attend. Spencer supporters are also present. "My interest in speaking at the University of Florida, speaking all over the country, is to raise consciousness among whites, among white people", Spencer said.

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Cameron Padgett, a Georgia State University student who organized the event at University of Florida for Spencer, called the high security costs "discouraging", and said anyone from either side who incites violence should be arrested. One of the marchers ran his auto through a crowd protesting their appearance, killing one woman and injuring dozens.

University of Florida president W. Kent Fuchs has asked students to stay clear of Spencer's talk. The school offered an online discussion at the time of the speech as an alternative.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency Monday, saying a "threat of a potential emergency is imminent" in Alachua County, where the school is located. He held a pre-speech news conference in which he denied being a white supremacist and compared his vision of an "ethno state" to the pursuit of Israel as a Jewish state.

"We are hoping that this is going to be a non-event".