Tensions high, arrests made at white nationalist's visit - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Tensions high, arrests made at white nationalist's visit


Protesters have clashed with police and supporters of white nationalist Richard Spencer during his visit to Michigan State University.

Police say at least a dozen people were arrested Monday. Michigan State allowed Spencer to appear, but the venue was an auditorium at a remote end of campus.

Students are on spring break. But hundreds of protesters turned out, shouting profanities at Spencer supporters and police. Officers formed lines outside the auditorium to try to keep the peace and protect people who had tickets as they entered the event. The officers wore helmets and clutched batons.

Spencer popularized the term "alt-right" to refer to a fringe movement that's a mix of white nationalist and anti-Semitic beliefs.

Katie Kuhn of Lansing led some anti-Spencer chants. She says there's too much "hate and fear."

"When I heard about other cities Neo-Nazis have been in the past, I couldn't imagine how those communities allowed that to happen," said Jan Pylar, protester. "I'm an alumni of MSU. I raised my family here. It's horrifying."

A large group of protesters hopped a fence and surrounded an armored police vehicle. Some even laid in the street so the vehicle couldn't move. Many were carried out against their will and arrested.

One MSU professor, Cherly Caesar, said she was there looking out for the youth.

"There are vulnerable young people. I want them to see us here. They are looking for guidance. They're looking for a way to go. They might be scared of the future of what's gonna happen politically, economically. And think that this is a way to align themselves with a strong man and we wanna show them it's not the way to go," Caesar said.

Police said they started preparing for the event as soon as they heard about it. Their presence was definitely known.

"There's always an opportunity for protesting to occur. There's always an opportunity for people to make bad choices and good choices. We're gonna enforce the law, the state law and city ordinances. And if someone steps outside those lines we'll take action," Michigan State Police Capt. Doug Monette said.

Police said at least 12 people have been arrested and charged at the event. Some were charged with misdemeanors and others with felonies.

Copyright 2018 WNEM (Meredith Corporation)/Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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