Police Officers of Florida brace up for protests with speech by white nationalist

Police Officers of Florida brace up for protests with speech by white nationalist

Source Reports:  Over a 100 of police will be deployed at the University of Florida on Thursday as thousands are poised to protest a speech by an avowed white nationalist, an event that triggers the governor to declare a state of emergency in preparation for possible violence.

Richard Spencer’s speech at the university in Gainesville comes about two months after rallies by neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, led to violent clashes with counter-protesters and killed at least one person. The flare-up challenged U.S. President Donald Trump and stoked a smoldering national debate on race.

Spencer, who heads the National Policy Institute, is scheduled to speak from 2:30 p.m. (1830 GMT) at a performing arts center. The university reported that no one at the university invited him to speak and it was obligated under law to allow the event.

The National Policy Institute is vetting which reporters it will allow inside to cover the speech, university officials report.

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

The Orlando Sentinel newspaper quoted Spencer as saying the emergency declaration issued this week was “flattering” but “most likely overkill.”

Police Officers of Florida brace up for protests with speech by white nationalist
A flier is seen on a pole the day before a speech by Richard Spencer, an avowed white nationalist and spokesperson for the so-called alt-right movement, on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, U.S., October 19, 2017.

Over 3,000 people have signed up on a Facebook page to say they will be coming out in mass to do protesting rally called “No Nazis at UF,” which will be held outside the venue where Spencer is speaking.

The university said it will disposing more than $500,000 on security. It did not provide details on tactics but among the groups dispatched will be the University of Florida Police Department, Gainesville Police Department, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Florida Highway Patrol.

Classes at the university will be conducted as planned except for those held in close proximity to the speech venue, the school report.

The President of the University, Kent Fuchs pleaded to all students not to attend the event and denounced Spencer’s white nationalism.

“By shunning him and his followers we will block his attempt for further visibility,” Fuchs said in a statement earlier this month.

The death in Charlottesville, home to the flagship campus of the University of Virginia, occurred as counter-protesters were dispersing. A 20-year-old man who is said by law enforcement to have harbored Nazi sympathies smashed his car into the crowd, killing a 32-year-old woman.

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