Violent clashes break out before Richard Spencer's speaking engagement at MSU

Posted March 08, 2018

White nationalists clash with counter-demonstrators before the start of a speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer, who popularized the term "alt-right", at Michigan State University on March 5, 2018 in East Lansing, Michigan.

Protestors had turned out for what was scheduled to be a speech by white nationalist speaker Richard Spencer.

"I don't want to shut the event down, but I want people attending the event and Richard Spencer to know that there are people who are willing to fight for our country and what our country stands for - which is equality, diversity and democracy", he told CBS Detroit.

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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.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN. Dozens of police vehicles lined the street near the venue, and protesters at one point lied down on the street to block an armored vehicle moving down the road.

Police swarmed and pulled out several people. Bottles and rocks were thrown.

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Pillai said he was with a small group of friends, all of whom shared the same sentiment toward Spencer's ideologies.

Katie Kuhn of Lansing led some anti-Spencer chants. "I'm still here, we're always going to be here". Officials at Michigan State did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A federal judge ordered the two sides into mediation. He says people came from all over the community and Midwest. The alt-right leader helped organized the "Unite the Right" white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last summer where one counterprotestor was killed.

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Spencer denied and several other media organizations press credentials.