EAST LANSING (WWJ) – Police say a protest against white nationalist Richard Spencer at Michigan State University got so out of hand, dozens were arrested after displaying some especially foul behavior.
Roughly 500 protesters gathered Monday on the outskirts of the East Lansing campus, some of whom blocked a roadway leading to the Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education, where Spencer was scheduled to appear for a ticketed event. Michigan State Police swarmed the area dressed in riot gear, some arriving in armored vehicles.
As people in the crowd chanted “Nazis go home,” 24 people were arrested. MSU Police Capt. Doug Monette says charges range from misdemeanors to felonies, but it’s what some of the protesters did that’s especially disturbing.
“Some of the protesters threw feces, filling up urine balloons, as well as rocks at police and other people that were at the event, as well as yelling obscenities and things like that,” Monette told WWJ’s Charlie Langton.
Violence erupted in the crowd at one point. Photos show some protesters with bloodied faces and Monette said some officers were injured in the fracas, as well.
“We do have some officers that do have some minor injuries, we’re still collecting all that information,” he said. “As far as anyone at the event (being injured), I’m not aware of that. But like I said, we’re still putting everything together.”
Officials will be meeting soon to discuss the event — what went right, what went wrong and possible ways to improve their response in the future.
Having initially denied Spencer’s petition to appear citing safety concerns, MSU later agreed to allow the speech on the first day of spring break, while many students would be away.
Around 50 people made it inside the pavilion to hear Spencer’s speech. Spencer told the crowd that he considered the event a success because he got to share his ideas, but did regret that there was violence.
“We need to raise consciousness among white people,” Spencer said. “We need to understand of ourselves as actually a global people. We are being attacked on that level. We are being attacked on the level of race, and therefore, we have to confront this on the level of race.”
Spencer praised President Donald Trump for his proposals to end “chain migration” which allows Green card holders to bring over their spouses and minor children. And after becoming citizens, they can apply to bring over parents, married children and adult siblings.