Professional protestors, activists and students gathered at the University of Florida (UF) to oppose and shout down Richard Spencer, the head of the National Policy Institute.
The tactics were-most welcomed by the head of the white nationalist group, who hammered away at the lack of support shown for the First Amendment and refusal to engage in a dialogue.
“You think you’re taking a stand shouting us down like this?” he asked mockingly. “You’re doing us a favor. Do you know how the rest of America will see this?”
The hodgepodge of groups in opposition to the event on Thursday, the first for Mr. Spencer since the violent clashes in Charlottesville, attempted to shut it down by not allowing him to speak. They screamed profanities before and during the Q&A portion of the event, repeatedly giving him the middle finger.
Any attempt to hold a discussion or debate by the very few willing to do so was immediately drowned out by the screaming.
The rowdy crowd chased down a man identified as a Spencer supporter and struck him to the point of causing a head bloody injury. Another man was arrested for intentionally jumping the barricade to the police side for his own safety. Yet another man was attacked for holding a “Blue Lives Matter” flag, representing his support for law enforcement.
And the crowd didn’t only harass and target supporters.
In a clash caught on camera by PPD’s editor, Antifa and protestors chased Fox News’ Phil Keating screaming “Nazi enablers!” and profanities. It prevented him from conducting his broadcast.
The more than 500 local and state police officers, as well as hundreds of Quick Response Force (QRF) soldiers from the Florida National Guard on duty at the event, did little to stop the crowd.
UPDATE: A previous version of the article referenced a student’s remarks during the Q&A. Those remarks and a photo taken during an interview with the student has been removed at their request.